The following are my views on the main issues that affect us all. If elected, I would reflect these values in both my actions and voting habits.
Economy – We are hopefully seeing the end of one of the deepest, darkest recessions that the Island has ever experienced. Whilst tough decisions have had to be made around fiscal policy, when we return to balanced books, the Jersey taxpayer needs to be shielded from any increase in taxes. Small business in particular needs to be nurtured and I would support any initiatives that would help new businesses that are starting up and seeking new opportunities for growth.
Immigration – It is, of course, important that we continue to pull out of this recession and there will naturally be sectors that rely on workers from outside of the Island. However, it does not make sense to continue to import labour whilst unemployment remains so high. This is simply bad economics. We need a clear and robust immigration policy which can be properly enforced in order to be able to define a way forward.
Government Reform I believe that the Island-wide mandate is a valuable position in the Assembly and the loss of the senatorial post would deny the electorate a tier of politicians who have the will of the whole Island. I support the Connétables having a seat in the States as I think that they bring a unique and stabilising quality to the House. This is something about which we should think very carefully before we abandon this well established tradition. However, the referendum question on this matter will be voted on by the public on polling day and I will respect the public’s views on this matter.
Education and Young People – More and more young people appear to be disenfranchised from our community. Whilst this appears to be a national problem, having two young daughters, I find it extremely upsetting when I hear of a teenager who has tried to harm her or himself, or worse. In my experience the root of these problems can very often be identified, at an early stage, through the education system and I would like to see more engagement and support through schools to let young people know that help is available and that there are solutions to their problems.
Social Security – If I am elected, I would like to put myself forward for a Ministry and Social Security would be my first choice, not least because I spent twelve years working in that Department and understand the inner workings of the benefits system, unemployment assistance, return to work schemes, minimum wage mechanisms, family friendly proposals, the long-term care scheme and discrimination legislation.
It is clear that there are financial pressures on the ring-fenced Social Security Fund and that in the very near future tough decisions may have to be made to preserve the long term future of the Fund. I would want to make sure that any such remedies are necessary and realistic.