That is the message from the Jersey Rights Association, who are urging as many people as possible to attend tonight’s public meeting to discuss such charges.Senator Stuart Syvret , a strong opponent of what he describes as the introduction of ‘stealth taxes’, is also asking the public to turn out in force.The Senator, who is due to address tonight’s meeting, said there were a host of potential other charges which could be produced in the future and Islanders had already demonstrated the influence they could have by speaking out against the sewerage charge.And the district official of the Island’s biggest union – which had promised to organise a campaign of mass resistance against the sewerage tax – is also encouraging his members to turn out.Nick Corbel of the Transport and General Workers Union said: ‘These policies are going to affect everyone but it’ll be the less well-off that are hurt the most.
We need to show the politicians that we are concerned and I would urge my colleagues in the union to attend.’JRA chairman Rui de Abreu said that the importance of the meeting had not diminished despite last week’s announcement.’Now that the sewerage charge has been postponed we are not sure if as many people will come as before,’ he said.
‘People may think that the matter has been dealt with and will go away.
But it has not.’They (politicians) are playing a waiting game.’Mr de Abreu said that the whole reason that the association decided to organise the meeting was the high level of public concern about the introduction of ‘user pays’ charges, and such charges were still on the horizon.’Committees are seeking to raise substantial sums in public revenue by introducing new charges and increasing taxes.
At the same time, allowances, benefits and other payments are either being cut, frozen or subject to means-testing,’ he said.
‘Taken together, this represents a full-frontal attack on low and middle-income groups.’There were many unanswered questions, he said, such as the effect on inflation, and the committees had so far failed to consult the public.It was announced last week that the proposed sewerage charge had been shelved for at least a year.The decision, which was hailed as a public victory, was to allow more thought to be given on how to protect people on low incomes from the new tax.The charge was to be introduced as part of next year’s committee budget proposals, the details of which will be made public on 30 June.Senior politicians appealed to the JRA to hold the meeting after the announcements are made on that date so that they would discuss the matter properly.
But Mr de Abreu argued that it was not worth waiting and that another public meeting could always be organised.Those who have confirmed that they will address the meeting and face Islanders’ questions are Finance president Senator Terry Le Sueur and his vice-president, Senator Philip Ozouf; Environment and Public Services president Deputy Maurice Dubras; Health president Senator Stuart Syvret; and Home Affairs president Senator Wendy Kinnard.Senator Ted Vibert and Deputy Geoff Southern, two regular opponents of so-called ‘establishment’ proposals, have also been invited to speak at the meeting.
All States Members have also been invited to attend.The meeting will be held at the Town Hall, starting at 7.30 pm.