Extraordinary Meeting of Chief Pleas highlights fears of future tax increases

Last week’s Extraordinary meeting of Chief Pleas saw only a handful of items but plenty of debate. Deputy Seigneur Stephanie Guille stepped in for the Seigneur whilst five Conseillers were absent though apologies had only been received from three. The Speaker of the House, Paul Armorgie, paid tribute to the late Trevor Kendall who had only just passed for his dedication to Sark’s community before the first agenda item, Questions Not Related to the Business of the Day. This item saw a request for the number of Conseillers populating the Policy & Finance Committee be increased by 50% to nine Conseillers and for a greater engagement with The Prince’s Foundation following their recent visit; both items are to be discussed at the next Policy Development Group meeting.

Jeremy La Trobe-Bateman was subsequently elected as deputy Speaker. The third agenda item followed which saw the threshold of minimum and maximum tax chargeable increased to £1,000 and £20,000 respectively. This item elicited a fair amount of debate with many members of the public having contacted Conseillers with fears of huge tax increases; the Policy & Finance Committee attempted to allay these fears and repeated that it was only the thresholds to be increased, that actual tax increases would be brought to the statutory budget meeting to be held in November this year. The item was carried.

The fourth agenda item saw agreement with the proposals for future legislation to be approved by His Excellency, the Lt. Governor, on behalf of the King-in-Council, rather than through the Privy Council. This will be further developed in conjunction with the rest of the Bailiwick. The final agenda item saw Conseiller Marcus Barker elected to the Harbours, Shipping & Pilotage Committee following the resignation of Conseiller Edric Baker. The meeting concluded in a little over an hour.

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