The following press release was sent out yesterday to the local media. I post it here for the blogging community and its readers ahead of its publication elsewhere:
The States of Jersey needs to give more priority to Social legislation including greater protection for women, who are more likely than men to be the victims of unfair dismissal by unscrupulous employers.
'My concern is that Jersey does not have the requisite social legislation to prepare us for the consequences of the economic downturn. We are already seriously behind when it comes to protection for tenants and private sector workers - especially women. It was hoped that the proposed Discrimination Law would bring Jersey up-to-date, but this has now been put on hold, as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review cuts. A short chat with the JACS (Jersey Advisory and Conciliatory Society) shows that women are more likely than men to be the victims of unscrupulous employers. This is of particular concern as we are facing the possibility of job losses in both the private and public sectors. Also, there is no statutory maternity leave and no sign of paternity leave. It should be asked whether this is acceptable in a prosperous island in 2011.'
Recent years have seen a shift in the tax burden from corporate taxation to personal taxation: in 2001 44% of the total tax take came from personal tax compared to an estimated 84% this year. Company tax will only account for 12% of tax revenue.There has been a corresponding reduction in the amount of disposable income of most lower and middle earners as a consequence of GST (which is set to increase) and the reduction of personal income tax allowances;
The plight of hard working islanders is ignored by the majority of the States Assembly, which continues to prioritise policy and legislation which benefit wealthy individuals and corporations. Meanwhile, the executive's dogged adherence to its flawed zero-ten policy actually encourages companies trading in Jersey to avoid paying tax, by registering outside of the island, thus putting local tax paying businesses at a disadvantage.
The prioritisation of corporate greed above social need is nothing new in the States of Jersey, but what particularly concerns me is that we may not have seen the worst of the economic downturn. People are already suffering, but historically, there is a time delay when it comes to the impact of a recession reaching Jersey. It is quite likely that we have not seen the full impact of that on the island; add to that the impact of the Treasury Minister's cuts and an increase in GST from June and it is likely that we will see a mass increase in relative poverty, in what is already an expensive place to live.