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Local price-comparison site plan to help combat high living costs

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AN extended local price-comparison website that would show the cost of goods and services of different retailers is being considered to help combat Jersey’s high cost of living.

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Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham is chairing a panel investigating how to control Jersey’s inflation rate, which recently has been more than double the equivalent level in the UK.

To help address the issue, the Senator said that the team is planning to work more closely with the Jersey Consumer Council, which runs a ‘fuel watch’ web page that allows Islanders to compare the prices of petrol and diesel at different garages in Jersey.

The minister said that he would like to see such a service extended to other products to drive competition between businesses and lower prices for customers.

‘One thing the inflation strategy group will be looking to do is work much more closely with the Jersey Consumer Council, who will have an enhanced role,’ he said.

‘An example is the fuel watch programme they have been running and I think we need to very quickly extend that sort of scrutiny of markets into food retail and then into other sectors.

‘It is important for Islanders to understand where they can get the best deals locally and hopefully the businesses that are producing the best deals will do the best business.

‘Ensuring consumers know where they can get the best deals in all markets will be an important step to driving better competition.’

Senator Farnham said that he would like to see local media involved in the project too and that his department was prepared to back the Consumer Council with resources.

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He added that the strategy group’s work was still ongoing but one of his objectives was to ensure States Members were made aware of the impact their decisions can have on the cost of living, such as tax rises.

‘We are drilling down to some of the issues to see how we can have a positive impact on ensuring inflation remains as low and stable as possible,’ he said.

‘One of my ambitions for the outcome of this work is that in the future States Members will always need to be mindful of the consequences of fiscal decisions and policies and how they might impact on inflation.’

The other members of the inflation strategy group are Chief Minister John Le Fondré, Treasury Minister Susie Pinel and Education Minister Tracey Vallois, with support provided by the chief economist, Statistics Jersey and the Treasury and Resources Department.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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