Guernsey States 2013 accounts: Deficit up to £24.8m

Gavin St Pier Deputy Gavin St Pier said falling revenues showed the need to review the island's tax system

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More needs to done to balance the States' books, Guernsey's treasury minister said as the States deficit rose by nearly £5m.

Income fell during 2013 and the overall deficit reached £24.8m, up £4.8m compared with 2012.

Deputy Gavin St Pier said: "We do need to stay focused on closing the deficit and we have concerns over the sustainability of our revenue."

He said a review of personal tax, pensions and benefits was needed.

Deputy St Pier said: "Our deficit position in 2013 is largely as a result of the deterioration in revenues.

"Eighty percent of our income taxes come from individuals and 78% of general revenue comes from income tax."

A five-year saving programme aimed at cutting £31m from annual spending, which will not be achieved, is due to finish at the end of this year.

Guernsey's Royal Court and States building In 2013 the States spent £24.8m more than it earned, with the difference funded from reserves

The deficit began in 2008 due to the introduction of a zero-10 corporation tax.

Under that system most corporations in Guernsey paid no tax, while others pay 10% and a small number pay 20%. Previously all companies paid about 6%.

In 2013, the tax rate for insurance and fiduciary businesses was increased from 0% to 10%.

That increased taxes from £40.3m in 2012 to £44.1m, but was £6.4m short of what was expected.

There was a fall in individual tax by £400,000 to £227.1m and other taxes - property tax, company fees, document duty, excise and import duties - fell by £1.3m to £76.1m.

Document duty, paid when properties are sold, decreased by £1.6m to £15.5m, due to a 9% fall in annual sales.

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