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Businesses unite to fight 'ill-conceived' waste charge

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ORGANISATIONS representing Jersey businesses across a variety of sectors have joined forces to lobby politicians against the introduction of what they describe as 'ill-conceived' proposals for a new commercial liquid-waste charge.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister and sent to all States Members, Jersey Hospitality Association president Fiona Kerley, Institute of Directors chairman Chris Clark, Chamber of Commerce chairman Eliot Lincoln and Doug Richardson, vice-president of the Jersey Farmers Union, say they have 'deep' concerns about the plans.

Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel recently bowed, in part, to pressure from businesses regarding the charge.

Instead of implementing the full proposed levy of £2.27 per cubic metre on 95 per cent of their water usage in March next year, Deputy Noel now plans to charge businesses half that amount for the first 12 months to help lessen the impact of the charge.

The States are due to consider the proposals, which were approved in principle in the last Medium Term Financial Plan, on 18 July.

However, businesses say even with a phased approach the plans will still cause 'irreparable damage to key industries'. They are now calling for more work to be done on the proposals, which they say are not based on adequate consultation.

'It is not that we are against paying for liquid waste removal; it is the fact that these plans need more work – and we want to work with the Minister for Infrastructure to make them better,' they say in the letter.

'We are heartened by the news that States income exceeded expenditure in 2016 and you are on course to close the budget deficit by 2019. We hope that the sound management of our public finances removes any urgency to introduce the liquid waste charge next year and gives us time to work together to ensure that it is effective, fair and won't damage the Jersey economy.'

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