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Chief minister warns services could be cut

BBC News logo BBC News 29/9/2022
Deputy Peter Ferbrache said the previous government had left the assembly "with a real mess" © BBC Deputy Peter Ferbrache said the previous government had left the assembly "with a real mess"

Guernsey's chief minister has warned States' services may be cut in the future due to its failure to meet saving targets.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache said the States had been left financially "stretched" while trying to reform its public sector.

He said the previous government had left it with "a real mess".

Mr Ferbrache said it needed to find a solution to its shortfall while delivering services "islanders want".

"We face greater pressures on our public services in the coming years because of our ageing population, and we know already we face a shortfall in the tens of millions per year," he said.

"We can't expect savings from transformation to help improve this situation, transformation instead needs to look at modernising and improving services, using these efficiencies to help us off-set future cost increases."

'Significant shortfall'

Mr Ferbrache said the States was not seeing a financial return with its targets due to the previous government and Covid.

"Every year budgets have promised recurring savings and every year there has been a significant shortfall in these saving targets," he said.

"Fundamentally the approach adopted last term, which was based on a 'big bang' approach, was, if I'm really honest, all wrong."

As part of its 10 year transformation plan, the States set out targets to reorganise how it was managed and how it delivered services through digital platforms.

Mr Ferbrache said the plans of the previous government were "too complex" and "too ambitious".

'New direction'

He added the government had also not been able to hit its target to cut 200 civil service roles.

"We have not seen the removal of 200 civil service posts that was promised in the 2019 Budget, we have seen around 100 and we know realistically we've removed as many as we can through efficiency alone," he said.

Mr Ferbrache said the government needed "a new direction" if it was going to "successfully deliver the change islanders expect without wasting significant additional sums".

The new direction would focus on a "smaller list of actions which prioritises suggestions from those with the practical experience" to allow better value for money.

He concluded the government had to be "serious about what it will take to keep delivering the public services our community expects".

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