Less airport duty-free means more for Treasury

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Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said that net general revenue last year increased by £6.6 million against 2019, largely through a 14% increase in impôt intake. She said this was ‘attributed to reduced duty-free tobacco and alcohol imported’.

The Treasury Department also received a higher tax take than expected through stamp duty, with an unexpectedly high number of housing transactions going through court during 2020.

Altogether the government’s net general revenue for 2020 was £852 million, which was £6.6m higher than a year earlier. Of that total £74m came from impôt duties.

However, the pandemic still left a £113million deficit in government finances, with £190m having been spent combating the crisis. This included £97.9 million supporting businesses through the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré said: ‘We’ve now been living with Covid-19 for more than a year and this report reflects the wide-ranging support we’ve put in place for Islanders and businesses.

‘Our response to the pandemic was swift and sustained; we mobilised the largest financial support package in our island’s history, developed a testing programme which ranks among the most effective in Europe and put in place a comprehensive track-and-trace programme to mitigate the spread of the virus within our community.

‘Notwithstanding this immense effort, we’ve also delivered on many of our plans, including being the first place in the British Isles to ban smacking children, continuing to improve our mental-health facilities and the state-of-the-art Les Quennevais School opened its doors last September.’

The report also reveals that a total of £173 million was spent on capital projects in 2020, while the Social Security funds increased in value by £105m. The accounts also showed that the government’s investment portfolio increased by £253 million.

Deputy Pinel said: ‘The 2020 accounts reflect our priorities during what was an unprecedented year – having the funding and liquidity in place to protect lives and livelihoods, while also ensuring our long-term financial sustainability. We are pleased that our income managed well in the face of the challenges we faced. We expect further significant impacts in the coming year; however, by not using the Strategic Reserve we are in a good position to recover and renew the economy.’

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