Guernsey VAT-style tax opposed by public

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Any move to introduce a goods and services tax, like VAT, would be heavily opposed by the Guernsey public, a survey has found.

The States consultation on the future of tax and benefits in the island attracted just 248 responses.

Only 13% of those supported introducing a tax on goods and services.

The majority were against increasing taxation to pay for an expected future rise in demand for public services such as pensions and health care.

The Treasury and Resources and Social Security departments launched the survey in a bid to get opinion on whether the current system of government support was sustainable with the proportion of elderly in Guernsey's population due to increase.

Those who took part in the consultation were asked questions on topics including service and pension provision, benefit payments and personal tax changes.

'Few surprises'

The majority of respondents felt there should be a limit to how much household income the States could take from islanders to fund public expenditure and that there should also a cap on household benefit claims.

The survey showed broad support for the current old age pensions arrangements with an increase in the retirement age as the favoured method of paying for the system in the future.

Most people also thought the benefits system should be tailored to provide sufficient income to fund essentials such as food and fuel, but not luxury items such as satellite TV and alcohol.

Treasury and Resources Minister Gavin St Pier, said: "Whilst the consultation provided few surprises, it does provide us with a robust assessment of the preferences of the Guernsey public. We will be taking these findings on board."

The departments are due to present long-term plans for taxation and the provision of public services to the States in 2014.

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