Coronavirus: Jersey Gas assistance bid rejected by States Assembly

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image captionJersey Gas supplies 70% of the island's shuttered hospitality industry

Jersey's States Assembly has rejected a bid for access to financial assistance by the island's only gas provider during the coronavirus crisis.

Jersey Gas temporarily raised prices by 6.5% on 1 May to compensate for losses during the lockdown.

Members refused to include the company in the States' co-funded payroll scheme, which would pay 80% of employees' wages up to £1,600 per person each month.

Jersey Gas said it was "disappointed".

About 70% of Jersey's shuttered hospitality industry is served by Jersey Gas, which claimed it had "no other choice" but to introduce the price hike.

Utility providers are excluded from Phase Two of the government's payroll scheme.

Senator Lyndon Farnham, the minister for economic development, previously said the government could not assist the company until it provided "vital financial information" for itself and its parent company.

Ian Plenderleith, managing director of Jersey Gas, said on Monday it had told the government it would "reverse and refund" the temporary tariff if it was granted access to the payroll scheme.

"We have given the Jersey Government the same detailed financial information, including all historic financial information and forward-looking forecasts, that is required of any business looking for access to the payroll co-funding scheme," he said.

"As we did not ask or apply for a loan from the special situations fund, we did not supply any further financial information regarding businesses linked to Jersey Gas."

Senator Farnham said the government would consider "all steps" permitted in law to ensure the company "behaves appropriately".

These include setting the tariffs or buying out the company with one year's notice.

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