The Jersey Construction Council are urging members of the States Assembly and officials from the Government of Jersey to progress with planned spending on infrastructure and construction in 2024 and 2025, to help with sustaining the Island’s fourth-largest employing sector.
The Council are also urging the Government to prioritise and speed up the following measures:
- Reducing ‘red-tape’ burden on developers and developments through temporary and permanent easement of Planning and building permission requirements.
- Put in place the necessary resources to improve the efficiency of Planning and building permissions processes in the Island.
- Commit to a mandatory timescale and service-level for the processing of Planning and building permissions applications.
- Resolve and complete the preparation of design briefs, Planning guidance and updated Planning standards promised since the July 2022 (when the Bridging Island Plan was approved).
- Ensure the real progress of the Government’s own capital spending projects and keep to the promises on spend planned in 2024 and beyond.
- Get those sites identified for affordable homes ready for redevelopment through accelerating the island-wide infrastructure needed to unlock the sites already-identified in the 2022 Bridging Island Plan.
- Provide access to a singular Minister with responsibility for the island’s construction industry.
If these measures do not happen, there is a strong probability that the challenging economic conditions presently being experienced will result in more organisations finding it very difficult to continue trading profitably, increasing the risks of further redundancies in the sector.
There is also a real risk of the Government falling short on its stated aim of reducing the costs of, and increasing access to, affordable housing and other infrastructure projects.
Jersey Construction Council Chairman Simon Matthews commented: “Jersey’s construction industry continues to account for over 6,000 paid employees in the local economy, almost all of whom pay local taxes and Social Security. We add around £400 million of Gross Value Add to the local economy each year.
“The industry has recently weathered some very bad storms. Despite the loss of several prominent local businesses, as an industry we remain very much ‘open for business’ and resolute in our desire to help the Island build its way out of the present economic climate.
“However, this Government now needs to accelerate and maintain a sustained period of investment to see real progress with their stated aim of improving access to, and the supply of, good-quality affordable housing.
“The Council’s members are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress on planned public spend. Each year, the Government publishes their Government Plan, which teases on the promises of more investment in homes, schools and other public infrastructure. But each year, the dates and targets for planned spend are missed, and projects roll forward to the next year. How can we, as an industry, work with that?
“We urge members of the Assembly to support the 2024 Government Plan, when asked to do so. However, the Island needs the Government to stick to their planned spending, in the year they propose to do so. Planned spend should be actual spend, and delivery of the Government’s proposed spending plans is an absolute must.”