Is Sark's economy in crisis?

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Is Sark's economy in crisis?

Post by GD on Tue 15 Jan 2013, 5:02 pm

Sark's Charles Maitland who heads up the main advisory committee there has dismissed claims that the island's economy is failing.

His comments come after the island's largest employer said the economy was in crisis.

Kevin Delaney, who runs the Barclay brother's investment company Sark Estate Management, said last week that he had to more than half his remaining employees from 70 to 30 because Sark could not sustain year-round employment.

He added that the company had invested around 30m in the last few years but Chief Pleas had not prioritised opportunities to boost the economy.

Those included sorting out Sark's border controls to allow French tourists to visit the island without going via Guernsey.

In addition, pushing through legislation to allow people to buy their own homes and use the equity for home improvements or repairs, thereby boosting the small building industry.

But Charles Maitland, who's behind the island's General Purposes and Advisory Committee, said the winter was always a difficult time and the economy had gone back to 'a more traditional pattern'.

"We've had three or four years of boom times with a lot of development where hotels have been rebuilt, but that can't go on forever.

Despite saying the island's finances were in a healthy state, he admitted that Chief Pleas had not done enough in the past to encourage more businesses to the island.

He added that the basic legal work to introduce mortgages quickly had been done but the overarching legislation was complicated.

"I'm all for land reform, it will have to happen eventually."

Asked whether Chief Pleas could be doing more to support the island's finances, Mr Maitland said its parliament was made up of voluntary politicians who had to do a lot of work.

"It's a step-by-step process."


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