Public sports centres will take cash again

Fort Regent (37714967)

VISITORS to Fort Regent, Springfield and Les Quennevais sports centres will once again be able to pay with cash from June, after politicians unanimously approved a States proposition.

The 42 Members in the Chamber yesterday also agreed that the government must review current and planned policies regarding cash payments across sports facilities to ensure that Islanders are not being unfairly disadvantaged or prevented from accessing public services.

Deputy Lucy Stephenson succeeded in her bid to reintroduce cash to sports centres, despite losing a vote 30 to 12 on amending the second part of her proposition which sought the review into cashless policies across all departments.

The Deputy, a former assistant minister with responsibility for sport, said it was a “matter of regret” that she had not had time to reform the cashless policy before losing her ministerial role.

She said: “This simple proposition asks the government to champion accessibility, freedom of choice and pragmatism and put those above a cost-cutting exercise and what might be easier for the government’s internal processes to handle.

“We are not yet a cashless society and government should not be leading the charge in enforcing that on Islanders.”

In the proposition’s report, she highlighted the case of a “vulnerable Islander” who was prevented from using cash at Les Quennevais Sports Centre in December last year, following the introduction of the cashless policy in 2020.

Infrastructure Minister Andy Jehan, whose amendment means that the review will be contained to sports facilities, said that 800,000 people have transacted at Les Quennevais since the cashless policy was introduced and he was aware of “very limited concern or complaints”.

Treasury Minister Elaine Millar was in support of the amendment, saying that cashless policies were responding to changes in payment habits seen locally and nationally, as was Social Security Minister Lyndsay Feltham who said the holistic review would cause inefficiency.

Deputies Hilary Jeune and Louise Doublet argued that it was important to retain a cash option for young Islanders who do not have access to bank accounts.

And Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel said he was considering bringing a proposition to the Assembly which enshrined the right to cash transactions in Jersey.

He said: “The desires by Treasury and others to not have to put up with cash will rob us of our fundamental human right to privacy, freedom and autonomy.”

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