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and giving children the best start in life came out high in people’s future aspirations, while more people gave protecting the beauty of Jersey’s natural environment and our air and water quality the highest possible score. Respondents said their highest priorities were the environment and low crime, and their concerns are taxes and the cost of living, including housing.


It is important when planning for an ageing population that we prioritise a successful economy. As we develop a new long term plan we will continue to focus on migration which delivers the greatest value. In recent years Jersey has experienced record employment growth, and earnings are growing. We had 420 more people working in financial services in 2015, 320 more in construction, building new offices and homes and 560 more in private sector health and educational services, providing care and related services. We have agreed in the Medium Term Financial Plan to employ more teachers and health workers to provide the best start for our young people and to care for Islanders of all ages.


We are in a position that many jurisdictions would envy. As technology develops more rapidly than ever before we will fight for a share of the exciting opportunities in digital. As old jobs disappear, new opportunities will open up for digitally trained school leavers.


We begin with many advantages: our business friendly climate, our skilled workforce, and a world-renowned financial services sector that contributes 42% of GVA to Jersey’s economy and employs 13,000 islanders. This diverse sector also feeds into our other important business sectors, like tourism, hospitality, construction and retail.


As we enter a period of increased uncertainty as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU our economy is performing well. It grew in 2015 by 2.2%, more than double what we had included in our forecasts. Average earnings increased by 2.1% in the year to June 2016 – the fourth year in a row that


earnings have increased at a faster rate than headline inflation. Private sector employment was 3.1% higher than a year ago, and by contrast public sector employment was 3.8% lower than in June 2015. This was the second consecutive annual fall and demonstrates the progress we are making with public sector reform and the importance placed on controlling government expenditure.


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While Brexit will bring challenges it also brings opportunities. Jersey has been trading with Europe from outside the EU for many years and we do not envisage any meaningful negative impact on the business models of the financial and professional services firms conducting business from Jersey. Indeed we see continued opportunity for Jersey to help move capital to and from both the UK and Europe.


The reports on ‘Jersey’s ‘Value to Britain’ and ‘Value to Europe’ underscore the positive economic benefit that Jersey generates for our neighbours and we look forward to continuing to play an important role in stimulating tax receipts, jobs and economic growth in these markets into the future. It is only by remaining a successful small island economy that we can look after our residents and provide them with the services we all need.


When this government took office, we assessed Jersey’s position and put in place plans for the medium and long term. Our medium term financial plan is all about investment and future planning. It continues the reforms of the public sector to cater for the changing demographics and puts technology at the heart of reforming a modern public service.


We are now acting on the plans for the medium term and clarifying our vision for the long term. Some of our decisions have been difficult but they are all focused on maintaining a competitive economy that can generate the income we need to look after our residents in a changing world. We are determined to keep Jersey a great place in which to live and work.


Page 12


An Ageing Island


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