The Economic Development Department (EDD) oversees a large portfolio of activity which will be enhanced by the transfer of Sport and Culture later this year – subject to States approval.
I am delighted to be working with my new Assistant Ministers: The Constable of St Brelade, Steve Pallett, who has responsibility for Sport, Liquor Licensing and Beach Guards, and Deputy Murray Norton who is leading on Culture, Gambling and the Channel Islands Lottery. Deputy Norton also represents the department on the Housing and Work Advisory Group.
In essence we work as a small committee. We hold ministerial meetings on a weekly basis, ably supported by our officers, where we discuss and make decisions across all areas of our responsibility. We aim for our department to be nimble, efficient and well informed and place a strong emphasis on teamwork.
We are working to build a strong, innovative and competitive economy which provides more jobs and prosperity for the community by supporting growth in all sectors, especially the traditional industries of Tourism and Agriculture. We are focusing on innovation, excellence, improved productivity and performance, on making it easier to establish and run a business in Jersey and on promoting Jersey internationally as a premier location for investment trade and commerce.
Since our first day as Ministers we have been working closely with our fellow Ministers and States Members to build opportunities for economic growth. Coordinated action across government is the only way to capitalise on opportunities for growth and to ensure Jersey reaches its full potential.
The £20 million Economic Growth Fund, which forms a vital component of the Medium Term Financial Plan, is a prime example of Ministers and departments working together in a coordinated way for the benefit of the whole island. I firmly believe that success will only be achieved by maintaining a persistent focus on growing the economy, thus increasing revenue to the Treasury.
Innovation is not new, nor is it the sole preserve of industries in their infancy. Jersey’s traditional industries including tourism and agriculture have a proud history of constant innovation. We have always been firm supporters of innovation to boost business and economic growth and we take every opportunity we can to encourage it.
One of my first tasks in office was to establish Visit Jersey to lead the exciting next chapter in the promotion of our beautiful island to visitors, both new and old. It is early days for them but I am encouraged by what I see and hear. The establishment of Events Jersey will build on the legacy of the Island Games by providing support for those putting on events to expand our offering to tourists and bring in a new tranche of visitors motivated by sports and events led tourism.
For Jersey to achieve economic growth we must continue to encourage inward investment. Locate Jersey has achieved significant success but we have challenged them to deliver even more. In today’s world we are competing on a global platform and business will not come to us because of our success in the past. We must continue to promote Jersey as a premier destination for doing business. This will help us obtain the growth we need as well as providing challenging job opportunities for our children and their children.
If Jersey is to continue to compete in the global marketplace government must lead the charge by demonstrating that it can change. With my colleagues in the Council of Ministers I am committed to the reform of the public sector. I favour small government. This means that government should do what only government can do and no more. Both I and my Assistant Ministers are impressed by the professionalism of our civil servants but we must reform systems and processes for the benefit of the Jersey community.
My department is fully supportive of the drive towards e-government. We are doing all we can to make Islanders’ interaction with government as simple and straightforward as possible.
Finally, we are determined to make doing business in Jersey as simple as possible. We start this by ensuring that our policies are clear and consistent whilst protecting consumers and the island’s reputation. One of our first acts was to instigate an internal review of the regulation affecting business. We want to ensure that where regulation is necessary it is fit for purpose and future-proof.
Along with maintaining Jersey’s competitive tax system we will make sure that the policy levers are designed to boost growth by making Jersey an attractive business environment committed to further developing our greatest competitive strengths. My department ensures that our partners, including Jersey Business and Visit Jersey, maintain their focus on helping local businesses in the same manner as Jersey Finance and Digital Jersey.
We are convinced that, as we have shown in the past, Jersey has the people, know how, and ideas to continue to excel and thrive in the world. Our job at EDD is to build confidence by supporting Jersey businesses to fulfill their potential by being competitive, innovative, and productive.
Jersey is a genuinely distinctive place – those of us who are fortunate enough to live here know this. We enjoy a wonderful geography of coastline and countryside. We must never forget that these natural assets have always been key to our success. In the past they have helped drive our economy and will be central to our future prosperity.