Deputy calls for £6m castle funding to be added to plan

FUNDING to refurbish parts of Elizabeth Castle will be restored to the Government Plan if an amendment by a former assistant minister is approved.

Deputy Montfort Tadier, who recently resigned as an Assistant Economic Development Minister with responsibility for culture, will ask for around £6 million to be added to the Jersey Heritage budget to allow the castle’s hospital block and officers’ quarters to be restored.

And the Deputy, who stood down from the post ahead of the no confidence vote against the Chief Minister, will also ask the States to maintain the principle of funding culture at 1% of the total States budget in 2024 in the face of what he described ‘Treasury shenanigans’ in the final year of the latest government plan.

The restoration of the hospital block at Elizabeth Castle was first accepted by the States 40 years ago but funding was never provided to undertake the work. Although the project was included in last year’s Government Plan, funding for the work disappeared from this year’s plan in a mix-up which the Treasury said resulted in the money initially being listed twice.

‘I am working to finalise an amendment which would restore the funding for the castle restorations,’ Deputy Tadier said, adding that, if accepted, it was likely that the money would be provided in tranches beginning in 2021 and amounting in total to around £6m.

In May last year Deputy Tadier, at the time temporarily suspended from his role as assistant minister, brought a successful proposition to the States to increase funding for arts and heritage so that it reached 1% of the total States budget. The effect was to increase the base budget from £4.6m to more than £8m.

However, the government plan shows a reduction from £8.198 million to £8.168m from 2023 to 2024. An accompanying note states that funding after 2023 will be reviewed to comply with Deputy Tadier’s proposition which specifically covered the period 2020 to 2023.

Describing the ‘shaving of the budget’ as ‘shenanigans’, Deputy Tadier told the JEP that he would also be seeking to have the overall culture funding increased in 2024 so that it continued to reflect the 1% of total States spending principle.

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