Hospital £27m write-off: Politicians should say sorry, says union leader
THE politicians responsible for the write-off of £27 million on the hospital project should publicly explain what went wrong and apologise to the people of Jersey for wasting their money, a union leader has said.
NASUWT Jersey representative Marina Mauger said that she is ‘absolutely livid’ that so much money has been wasted at at time when public sector staff are facing modest pay increases, tax rises are being considered and education is facing funding issues.
The States voted to rescind their decision to build the Island’s new hospital on the Gloucester Street site earlier this year, meaning that £27 million of the more than £40 million already spent on the project has had to be written off.
Mrs Mauger called for action to be taken to make those responsible held accountable.
‘It makes me absolutely livid. I think that anybody who had anything to do with that decision-making should be held to account,’ she said.
‘That money – which they have written off – has come from our taxes. We have worked to have our money written off.
‘I think it’s an absolute outrage and I think there needs to be much more public scrutiny of what went wrong.
‘It was under the last government, not this one, but they [States Members] are talking about increasing GST, people are getting below-inflation pay rises, they can’t give any more money to education and nurses are still looking at their pay resolution.
‘To get to a stage where you can arbitrarily write off that amount of money – £27 million – that we have worked for is down to inept government.’
She added that the recent announcement that a further £845,000 had been allocated to kickstart the project again, including by hiring a £1,000-a-day consultant, had worsened matters.
‘I would never say we don’t need consultants. I don’t think we have people with the right expertise locally but that should have been realised at the beginning of the project,’ she said.
‘People have not been held accountable for this.
‘They should be made to explain to the public and give the full story about what went wrong after a £44 million spend without a brick being laid and with plans that have gone up in smoke.’
Mrs Mauger added that she believes those responsible for the write-off should apologise to the people of the Jersey.