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Minister still wants Infrastructure Levy

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A FURTHER attempt to introduce a tax on property developments – which was rejected by the States last year – will be made by the Environment Minister if he is re-elected.

Deputy Steve Luce said that his department has drawn up a number of plans for regeneration schemes in St Helier but needs funding for the projects, which was denied when Members rejected his plans for an Infrastructure Levy in December.

The proposed levy would have imposed a tariff on the profits of developments and was hoped to have raised £1.5 million a year. The States narrowly rejected the proposal after concerns were raised that it would cause house prices to rise.

During a hearing of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny panel, the minister said that the levy falling through had stalled plans to regenerate the Island’s capital in line with the States strategic aims.

‘It all came down to hard cash. I have had to rely on the Infrastructure Department for money and the Constable of St Helier,’ he said

‘I am pleased with the good work we have done on Conway Street and what will eventually be completed at Charing Cross. But we have identified other potential schemes but we don’t have the money to spend.

‘Midvale Road will be one of these but we are not quite there with the funding yet.’

Deputy Luce added that his department were using planning obligation agreements [legal agreement with developers] to fund certain infrastructure projects but to limited effect.

‘We are trying to use planning obligation agreements where we can, but with them contributions to infrastructure have to be in the vicinity of the developments,’ he said.

‘If I’m still here after May and I’m still in a position to do so, I will look at bringing back the Infrastructure Levy to the Assembly. We have a lot of ideas of what we want to do but need money to do it.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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