Scrutiny to investigate mini-budget designed to help with cost of living

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A REVIEW has been launched into the government’s proposed mini-budget, which ministers say has been designed to help Islanders with the cost-of-living crisis.

The new Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel announced its intention to review the proposed £56.5 million-worth of measures yesterday.

The panel, which is chaired by Deputy Sam Mézec, said they would determine whether the mini-budget adequately addressed the ‘specific needs of households hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis’ and would review the impact of the support package on the inequality of income and wealth in the Island.

Increased tax breaks, social security cuts and benefit hikes were some of the measures unveiled in the proposals by Treasury Minister Ian Gorst and Social Security Minister Elaine Millar.

If approved by the States Assembly in September, the changes would leave a single-person household £520 better off in 2023, while a married couple or civil partnership would take home an extra £832 next year.

Meanwhile, plans to cut the de minimis level – the threshold under which GST is not charged on imported goods – to £60 have been deferred until next July.

To gather evidence for the review, the panel plans to seek views from Islanders and hold public hearings with ministers. It will present a report outlining its findings and recommendations ahead of September’s debate.

Announcing the review, Deputy Mézec said: ‘When many Islanders are feeling the effects of the increasing cost of living, it is right that the government considers taking special measures to tackle this.

‘The panel wishes to investigate whether the proposed mini-budget will actually address the most pressing needs amongst Islanders, with particular concern for low-income households who will be hardest hit by rising costs. To assess whether this is the case, we will be asking those most affected to share their views on the suggested proposals and use this feedback to inform our report before the support package is debated by the States Assembly.’

Other members of the panel include vice-chair Deputy Max Andrews and Deputy Carina Alves.

The review also aims to: assess how the monetary relief provided will be recovered and find out whether the proposals can realistically be implemented within the suggested time frame.

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