AGREEMENT BETWEEN REFORM JERSEY AND SENATOR JOHN LE FONDRÉ ON SUPPORT FOR FORMING A GOVERNMENT
Following constructive discussions and negotiations, Reform Jersey States Members are committed to supporting the candidacy of Senator John Le Fondré in the election for Chief Minister on 4th June 2018.
This support is offered conditionally on the understanding that both parties agree to the following terms –
Over the last 4 years, Reform Jersey and Senator Le Fondré have both voiced their concerns in the States Assembly over the direction Jersey was moving in under the incumbent Council of Ministers. Both recognised the disillusionment many members of the public feel about Jersey’s political system because of the dysfunctional way the States has often worked.
In his candidate statement for Chief Minister, Senator Le Fondré explains his concerns over the way that the benefits of economic growth have not been felt by most Islanders, many of whom are now worse off today than they would have been five years ago. He says - “We simply cannot allow this situation to continue and have to develop policies which address the complex socio-economic problems to provide real opportunities for all and not just a few”. This is a sentiment shared by Reform Jersey in their manifesto ‘Working for a Fairer Island’.
Whilst Senator Le Fondré and Reform Jersey have often taken different positions on States policies over the previous electoral term, both stated in the general election campaign that they wished to see a more inclusive government for this term and wanted to work constructively with others to see public services improve. Both parties believe that the election results demonstrate a mandate for change in line with this vision.
Whilst Reform Jersey and Senator Le Fondré have previously differed in their policies on improving the standard of living for Islanders, it is now agreed that this should be a key priority in the next Strategic Plan, with a focus on reducing poverty.
Both Reform Jersey and Senator Le Fondré placed significant emphasis in their election manifestos on the importance of ensuring Jersey is represented at the highest levels throughout the Brexit negotiations to ensure that Jersey’s place in the world is secured.
It was a stated priority in Reform Jersey’s manifesto that the next government must implement the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which Senator Le Fondré has also included in his candidate statement for Chief Minister.
Forming a government
If elected as Chief Minister, Senator Le Fondré will initially nominate Senator Sam Mézec for the position of Housing Minister, then, following the introduction of the upcoming changes to ministerial government, he will be nominated as Minister for Children.
Other Reform Jersey States Members will contest further ministerial posts on 7th & 8th June.
In the event of them not being voted into other ministerial roles, Assistant Minister positions will be offered to Deputies Montfort Tadier (in Culture) and Geoff Southern (in Social Security).
Working together in government
It is agreed that no version of collective responsibility shall apply to Reform Jersey members in government which would require them to vote against what was committed to in their manifesto. Where their political positions are irreconcilable, they will agree to disagree.
It is agreed that Reform Jersey members will have the absolute freedom to pursue their 10 key election pledges, both inside government and from the backbenches.
Reform Jersey members will continue to robustly oppose any policy which they believe will exacerbate poverty on the Island.
Reform Jersey members in government will abide by all parts of the Ministerial Code of Conduct and will not use information obtained in their government capacities for party purposes.
Senator Le Fondré has committed to improving communication amongst Ministers and Assistant Ministers, including ensuring that all Assistant Ministers are able to access all the information provided to their Ministers.
It is agreed that Jersey’s Income Tax and Social Security Contributions systems will be examined to determine the appropriateness of potential reforms (including those specified in Reform Jersey’s manifesto). Further work will also be done to assess the relationship between taxation and Income Support (including the disregards) and work shall be done to review the supplementation system.
It is agreed that the Minimum Wage shall be progressively increased towards £10ph, with consideration given to benefits in kind provided by employers in agriculture and hospitality.
It is agreed that legislation will be introduced to define zero-hours contracts in law and regulate them to end their inappropriate use.
It is agreed that improved parental leave provisions, access to dentists for children and cheaper access to GPs will be aspired to, subject to sustainable funding mechanisms being found from Social Security Contributions reform.
It is agreed that a working party will be set up to consider how further responsibilities on local matters can be transferred to the Parish of St Helier, in line with commitments for urban regeneration.
It is agreed that discussions will begin with the Jersey Electricity Company to explore options for increased use of renewable energy in Jersey.
It is agreed that workforce modernisation negotiations will be re-opened, with the principle of collective bargaining restored.
It is agreed that a Policy Development Board on Social and Affordable Housing will be established, which will work with the Housing Minister to research and develop a fair rent regulation system for social and private accommodation. Social housing (i.e. Andium) rents will be frozen whilst this work takes place. Further work will be done to agree measures to encourage unused properties to be available on the market, including an empty property tax. An investigation will take place on external purchasers of property to reduce that demand.
Duration of the agreement
Both Reform Jersey and Senator Le Fondré sign up to this agreement in good faith, on the understanding that both parties wish to serve in Jersey’s best interests for the four-year term. If one party to this agreement does not uphold their obligations as stated, then the other can withdraw from the agreement if no reconciliation is possible.