Assembly rejects bid to scrap GST on food

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A PROPOSAL to remove GST on food has been rejected by the States Assembly.

St Saviour Deputy Raluca Kovacs’ proposition was voted down by 27 votes to 17 in the Chamber on Thursday.

The Reform Jersey politician urged Members to listen and respond to what she described as ‘a proven need’. If successful, her proposition would have required the 5% sales tax to be removed from food by 1 January 2024 at the latest.

Following the vote, she told fellow Members this was not the last they have heard on this topic.

The scheme was met with concerns from ministers – who rejected the proposals.

Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles said the proposals did not give consideration to the ‘cost to customs and immigration’.

‘I cannot support the proposition, not because I don’t care. I can’t support it as the benefit it may bring does not justify the disruption to public business,’ she said.

External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf said the focus should be on providing competition, in order to lower the cost of living. He described Deputy Kovacs proposition as ‘seriously failed’.

But Reform Jersey leader Deputy Sam Mézec described GST as a ‘regressive tax’ which had not achieved what it set out to do.

‘If we want to help the vulnerable, the government just seems to throw benefits at them rather than get to the root of the cause,’ he said.

GST was first introduced in 2008 at a rate of 3% before being upped to 5% in 2011, where it has remained ever since.

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