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Government of Jersey 'to borrow £336m in 2021'

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  • Coronavirus pandemic
image copyrightGovernment of Jersey
image captionChief Minister Senator John Le Fondre announced the government plan for 2021-2024 at Monday's press conference

The Government of Jersey plans to borrow £336m next year in a bid to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

It forms part of the government's four-year spending plan which includes £120m of savings by 2024.

Five priority areas include putting children first, islanders' wellbeing, the economy, standard of living, and the environment.

Chief Minister John Le Fondre said the government had to "re-prioritise" resources in response to the crisis.

It is estimated the pandemic will cost the government more than £400m over the next four years.

The £336m loan will aim to balance the island's finances, in addition to a £50m fiscal stimulus fund announced in July.

Senator Le Fondre said there were no plans to increase income tax in 2021.

Mental health investment

As part of the Covid-19 response, £46.3m has been budgeted for test and trace, the Nightingale hospital, purchasing a vaccine, and the distribution of PPE next year.

The government has also pledged to spend £20.2m on mental health services by 2024, which will include the development of a crisis prevention centre.

Alcohol tax will be frozen in 2021, but cigarette duty may rise by 5.5% and fuel could see a price hike of 2.3p per litre.

In response to school closures earlier in the year, the government announced a 16-month education programme which will include extra tuition for pupils "most in need".

Social security contributions, which were reduced by 2% during the pandemic, will revert back to normal rates in June next year under the government's proposals.

Mr Le Fondre said protecting islanders remained the government's "first priority" and it would do "what is necessary to suppress the virus until a vaccine can be provided".

The government plan is due to be debated in December and will require the approval of States members.

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