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Jersey's Budget: The six key points

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FIRST-TIME buyers will benefit if the Budget proposals put forward by Treasury Minister Susie Pinel are adopted later this year.

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Under the 2019 Budget proposals – the first since the new Council of Ministers was formed – Islanders buying a property under £600,000 would not be required to pay stamp duty on the value of their mortgage.

And, the threshold for first-time buyers’ tax relief would be increased by £50,000 to £500,000.

However, this would be funded by a 0.5 per cent increase in standard stamp duty [the duty paid on the value of the property] for homes valued over £500,000.

Among the other proposals put forward in the 2019 Budget are:

  • £500 increase in the personal tax-free income allowance, taking it to £15,400 for a single person.
  • 59p increase in the duty on a pack of cigarettes.
  • a below-inflation increase in alcohol duty of 3.5 per cent.
  • 2p increase in fuel duty.

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  • £50 million is being paid into the States' reserve account, the Stabilisation Fund, to provide a buffer against ‘economic shocks’.

Deputy Pinel said that her first Budget as minister was ‘steady as you go’ and would ‘provide a platform for the Council of Ministers to deliver on the five strategic priorities’ which were set out last week in the Common Strategic Policy document.

However, she warned that Jersey could face a £30 million structural deficit if action was not taken to address the shortfalls caused by a lack of departmental savings and the States rejection of health and commercial waste charges.

She said that expenditure had already been fixed due to the constraints of the current Medium Term Financial Plan and that the 2019 Budget proposals contained ‘no surprises’.

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‘It is not just the constraints of the MTFP,’ she said. ‘It is also the uncertainty of Brexit.

‘We have a fantastic team in External Relations who have been doing a vast amount of work on all potential outcomes, but of course we don’t know which way it is going to go.’

Discussing the potential shortfall in 2020, the minister added: ‘Some of the savings didn’t happen in the last government. Some departments did not produce the savings that were required.

‘The commercial waste charge was deferred and the health charge was rejected. They are things we are having to pick up the pieces for.’

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