From Craig Leach.
AS your editorial (JEP, 24 September) suggests, the Le Fondré package of benefits is superior to that of exemptions of GST on food in getting help to those in need.
That is not going to stop candidates from still selling the seductive ‘no to GST, no to tax’ line and even claiming the moral high ground.
But is it moral to burden us with extra civil servants? Moral to saddle retailers with extra work and costs? Moral to relieve tax avoiders from contributions to the public purse? Moral to guarantee the need for other taxes to replace GST receipts? Moral to surrender tax efficiency to competitors such as Singapore, which could cost us jobs?
Some candidates put up their hands in horror and say GST is regressive. True, but if a poor person pays £1 but receives £5 back in public services and benefits, that is the outcome that counts. (They tend not to mention that bit.)
For all sorts of reasons in this very competitive world, we need to avoid falling into the same exemption pit as the UK – one the UK is being advised to dig itself out of (see the Mirrlees report). Candidates need to examine their consciences as well as read Mirrlees. Saying no to GST and no to tax on food might well win votes from those not fully informed of the consequences or of the Le Fondré benefits. Candidates do not have that excuse.
After the next election it could well be that ‘We created the Jersey exemption industry’ could be added to the CVs of some of our politicians. A time for civil servants and lawyers to celebrate. Some legacy!
La Grande Mielle,