‘Government Plan has done little to help people at the bottom end’
A THIRD of people who took part in a lifestyle survey reported being worse off than they were last year.
The recently released Jersey Opinions and Lifestyle Survey showed that 30% of respondents reported struggling financially and 34% of those felt they were worse off than in 2018.
Jersey Citizens Advice chief executive Malcolm Ferey believes that by voting down a series of backbench amendments to the Government Plan, the States Assembly had put further financial pressure on those struggling with their finances.
Members rejected amendments to limit hikes on alcohol and fuel duty and also knocked back proposals to increase child tax allowances and to reduce the cost of GP visits for vulnerable Islanders.
Mr Ferey said that the latest lifestyle survey made for ‘uncomfortable reading’ and the Government Plan voting had not helped.
He added: ‘The statistics in the latest JOLS report in relation to personal finances confirm that many Islanders are struggling to cope financially.
‘The Government Plan has done little to help people at the bottom end who are struggling.
‘A lot of the amendments that would have helped were voted down.
‘The good news is that there is lots of help and assistance out there and we urge people to seek that assistance sooner rather than later, as the sooner we can get to work on personal finances, the better.’
Earlier this week, St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft criticised ministers for rejecting amendments without giving them due thought.
Mr Ferey added: ‘Once personal finances have collapsed our task is made much harder, as we are then firefighting rather than proactively managing.’
Other points in the report that were a cause for concern for Mr Ferey were the the answers to questions on anxiety.
He said: ‘I was also concerned with the question how anxious did you feel yesterday? Where ten was “completely” and zero was “not at all”. Twenty-seven per cent of respondents fell into the high-anxiety (6-10) category.
‘I believe that there are strong links between healthy finances and healthy minds.’
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