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Freeze on rates announced – but 'average' family will only save £4

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RATE increases will be completely frozen this year to help ‘further support’ Islanders during the Covid-19 pandemic, if proposals are passed by the States, but an average family would benefit by only £4 from the move.

Treasury Minister Susie Pinel (28754310)

Treasury Minister Susie Pinel has lodged a proposition to remove the normal annual increase to Islandwide rates in line with inflation, which would match the intention of the parishes to freeze parish rates. Under the rates system Islanders are taxed on the size of their property, with a portion going to the parish and ‘Islandwide’ rates going to the central States Treasury.

The report accompanying the proposition says: ‘The amount levied in 2021 (and in subsequent years) is not affected by this change. The regulations would come into force on the day after they are made and expire at the end of 2020.’

It adds that the move will have very little impact on the finances of an average Jersey family living in a three-bedroom home. ‘[This measure] will provide further support to Islanders (businesses and households) as Jersey comes out of Covid-19 lockdown,’ it says.

‘It is estimated that not uprating the Islandwide rate will keep £4 in the pocket of a family living in an average three-bedroom home. General revenues income will be reduced by around £360,000 in 2020 only.

‘Maintaining the Islandwide rate at its 2019 level during 2020 will not, of course, significantly help Islanders in financial distress nor will it significantly deprive the public purse of monies to help Islanders in distress.

‘It does, however, synchronise the approach of the parishes and the government towards the rates charges and further reinforces the States Assembly’s commitment to support Islanders as Jersey works its way out of the pandemic.’

The report says that the order to freeze rates would be made under emergency powers introduced to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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