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Press Release - Covid - Financial Outlook 12.06.2020

Alderney's fiscal union with Guernsey 'vital for economic recovery'

The spirit of co-operation between the Bailiwick islands during the pandemic have forged closer ties between Guernsey and Alderney and should be continued in a stronger fiscal union.

That's the view of Alderney's lead politician James Dent who told the full States of Alderney meeting on June 10: "The Covid-19 crisis has thrown all of the plans we were making in 2019 into disarray."

This means the Island's fiscal union with Guernsey is more important than ever as demonstrated in accessing the common Bailiwick-held funds for supporting businesses during lockdown, he said.

"Our major challenge for this year will be a credible recovery plan," he told Members. "Guernsey has plans for major borrowing and has indicated that austerity should not be a feature of the recovery plan."

"We need to work closely with Guernsey to make sure we can access the funds we need for any capital investments that recovery will require, and invest for the future of our island."

He told Members that the Review of the 1948 Agreement was now on hold.

Commenting on Alderney's audited accounts, Mr Dent said 2019 was a "satisfactory year" with a modest surplus similar to that of the previous year although the £1.88m cash allocation from Guernsey was a little lower in real terms.

Reduced surpluses from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) in 2019 could be halted or even reversed as high regulatory standards would be attractive to operators seeking to protect their hard-won reputations following Brexit.

The ability to vary the charge categories in the new Single Property Tax next year as well as retaining other duties will be useful tools for managing the Island's economy.

But he added: "Any adjustments we make in these areas may be insufficient to bring us safely through the looming recession. Having said this, our most recent revisits to our budget for 2020 suggests the impact can be managed at least during this and the coming year."