Alderney’s property tax is to increase by 2.3% – in line with the Retail Price Index (RPIX) – next year after the States of Alderney approved a ‘prudent and sensible’ Budget for 2022 at its meeting on October 20th .
The States also agreed to keep Fuel Duty consistent with the States of Guernsey’s charges for 2022 and maintain Document Duty and Congé – taxes on property transactions – at existing levels. Water Rates will also be pegged at 2020 levels.
“We are in a position to report good news as the impact from Covid-19 on Alderney’s finances has been much less than in other jurisdictions and costs in 2021 have been managed and contained,” said Bill Abel, Chair of the Policy and Finance Committee (P&F), in presenting a “prudent and sensible” Budget to the States.
“However, we must keep pace with rising costs alongside creating sensible reserves to help us manage future budgets. Our budget proposal to increase the Alderney Property Tax (APT) by 2.3%, in line with the Retail Price Index excluding mortgage interest June 2021 rate, is considered to be the minimum increase to APT while continuing to recognise the everyday struggles of our hardworking population.”
Fuel Duty and Document Duty income are now retained by the States of Alderney and together with the revenue from APT, this is forecast to be enough to offset the loss of the routine grant support from Guernsey which will end in 2021.
“Sadly, Covid-19 will remain with us and the uncertainty that this brings is recognised in our budgeting strategy,” said Mr Abel. “Document Duty has been a significant revenue stream with the surge in the property market in this first year in which we are able to retain all of the proceeds.”
This will enable the States Treasury to send an estimated £500,000 to reserves this year – around £400,000 more than was originally expected – adding to the strategic reserve target that has been set following the move away from financial reliance on Guernsey.
“It is acknowledged that the current property sales trend is unlikely to continue, but this year’s performance has given us an unexpected opportunity in Year 1 of the new financial relationship with Guernsey to make a major contribution to our target of building a strategic reserve for the longer term,” said Mr Abel. “However, to maximise the advantage from this windfall income, we must also keep pace with rising costs.”
He added that the Island faces the issue of a lack of affordable housing, social and key-worker housing and rental property. And next year, the States will consider options for streamlining the current Document Duty and Congé rates, including incentives for first-time buyers.
Finance Committee Chair Chris Harris referred to the numbers of ‘staycationers’ visiting Alderney from the other Bailiwick islands during the pandemic and noted that with the return of UK visitors, the hospitality sector is thriving.
“New attractions such as the reopening of the Odeon have seen our tourism product increase and we hope to continue with such projects in the coming years,” he said.
Both he and Mr Abel thanked the Treasury team of Liz Maurice, Head of Finance, Finance Manager Elanja O’Toole and Strategic Financial Advisor Stephen Taylor for their hard work in preparing the 2022 Budget. Gratitude was also expressed to Penny Oakman, who retired from her post in Treasury in July, after many years of service.