Serious concerns have been raised about Jersey’s proposed new construction tax.
The infrastructure levy, if approved, will be charged on all new developments, with the money raised spent on projects to improve the wider community, with a particular focus on public space in St Helier.
A scrutiny panel has been looking at the plans ahead of next week’s debate and it’s raised a raft of worries after hearing evidence from those who work in the sector.
The key findings include:
- The Jersey Construction Council say the tax will lead to an increase in property prices.
- The Chamber of Commerce say it will slow down development work and could instead lead to landowners holding on to their land.
- A review of the Environment Department’s plans commissioned by the JeCC and Jersey Farmers’ Union was described as “fundamentally flawed”.
- The scrutiny panel also expressed concern that politicians would be debating the proposals in this parliament, but that it would be a different parliament – after next May’s General Election – that would be enacting the decision.
If the proposition is voted through, it calls on the next parliament’s scrutiny panel to review the details before anything comes into force.
In response to concerns about how money raised by the tax will actually be used, the Chief Officer of Environment told the panel: “I think it is absolutely vital for us to be very clear in what we have received in Levy and be very public about that. We also need to be very public about how we spend Levy money and whether that is an annual report or an annual report to the Assembly, whatever form that takes. Not only does the Assembly ask for that of us, I think the community ask us of that. The principle here is for community gain so I think we have to be absolutely demonstrating to the community what we received and what we spent it on.”