Ministers’ priorities to be revealed in Strategic Plan

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However, the plan – which has been renamed the Common Strategic Policy – will not contain any information about how ministers propose to pay for the aims it sets out, the Treasury Minister has confirmed.

A lack of information about funding has marred previous plans, with backbenchers criticising them for having a lack of ‘meat on the bones’ and for having no indication of financial implications on which to base their decision whether to approve the proposals or not.

Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said she had ‘asked the question’ about how the plan would be funded but confirmed that Members – and Islanders – would have to wait until the next spending plan was drawn up in 2019 for any details on funding.

‘The Strategic Plan is a sort of vision statement of the priorities that the government wants to make in the next four years,’ sh explained.

She added that until the next spending plan comes into force in 2020, the States is ‘tied totally’ to expenditure that has already been agreed.

She said: ‘I have been assured this [the Common Strategic Policy] is an expectation of what this government’s priorities are and not how they are going to be funded.

‘It is about how we do things in a better way as opposed to how we spend in a better way, which will be in the MTFP.’

Meanwhile, while the structure of the plan will be similar to previous versions, the focus is likely to be different, according to Assistant Chief Minister Richard Buchanan.

The JEP also understands that the proposed priorities will include early years, the provision of which Education Minister Tracey Vallois has said will be overhauled over the next two years.

Earlier this month she revealed that the existing Nursery Education Fund, which provides pre-schoolers with 20 free hours of nursery education a week in term time, was to be replaced as part of a wider reform of early years.

Mr Buchanan, who is also an Assistant External Relations Minister, said ministers had been working hard on the plan behind the scenes.

‘It will set out our priorities,’ he said. ‘I can’t tell you too much but I think you will find the focus might be different from previous plans.’

The previous government’s plan, which was approved in 2015, set out five key priorities – sustainable public finances, improve health and wellbeing, improve education, optimise economic growth and improve St Helier.

The incarnation prior to that, agreed in 2012, set six priorities – getting people into work, managing population growth and migration, reforming Health and Social Services, housing the community, reforming the government and the public sector, and developing long-term planning. A seventh priority – promoting family and community values – was added following an amendment.

Once lodged, other Members are able to propose amendments to the plan, which is then due to be debated on 20 November.

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