The Guernsey Retail Group has welcomed last week’s decision to reject a goods and services tax and is calling on the States to take bold steps to address the key issues facing the Island.
The comments follow the outcome of the tax debate in the States which saw a majority of Deputies vote against GST designed to help raise funds to shore up public services.
Korinne Le Page, Head of Retail Development at the Guernsey Retail Group (GRG), which represents the sector, said: “We are naturally pleased that the States opted not to introduce GST and would applaud the decision that the Assembly has taken although it is disappointing that no other progress seems to have been made. The GRG was highly concerned by the potential critical impact that a GST would have on retailers and other businesses within the Island and the predictions from many that this would lead them to close.
“Guernsey’s retail economy has recovered well from the pandemic, with shop occupancy comparing more favourably than in Jersey or the UK, so we should now build on this success. We would like to work with the States as Guernsey’s community needs and deserves a healthy and varied on-Island retail sector.”
Ms Le Page added: “We understand that P&R has to find ways of increasing revenues to pay for essential services, which is not an easy task, so we need to look at ways of growing and diversifying our economy. This should include addressing the housing shortage and making it easier for people to live and work here through a relaxation of employment laws which have been so restrictive.
“We also believe that externally, a GST-free Island should be used as a unique selling point to visitors, the vast majority of whom come from jurisdictions where there is a tax on consumption.”
The GRG confirms it is absolutely committed to supporting a strong and vibrant retail sector and is equally committed to encouraging Islanders to buy locally.