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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Guest of the Cardiff Business Development Team

Where are the fire-fighters trying to prevent Jersey
 from going up in flames? The States are acting
more like arsonists 
The economic future for Jersey is looking bleaker by the day, when the JEP has to report the 'creation' of 50 new jobs in the hospitality industry to replace the 50 jobs that the previous businesses who occupied those premises before they went bankrupt lost, you know things are bad.

AIB is going in January and taking with it over 200 REAL jobs with wages above the minimum and I find it highly unlikely that the States are going to cut the 50 MAKE-WORK jobs in various departments which the loss of the tax revenue from those workers will necessitate.

Despite the best efforts of our local hoteliers, tourism in Jersey is rapidly declining. It is not for any other reason than we have lost our unique selling point; we are no longer a low-tax jurisdiction. The idea of budget hotels is foreign to Jersey, the taxes and landing charges also act to dissuade people from coming. Not good at a time when banks and governments are squeezing every last penny they can from the people they are supposed to serve.

And so I am recently returned from a trip to Wales where I am considering re-locating a business to. The differences are quite shocking.

Cardiff is a dream of a city, centred around a massive, and I mean massive CAR PARK. I was astounded that the simple realisation that shoppers like to drive to and from the shops and park for free without having to constantly panic about being fined for overstaying their pre-paid time. The roads in and out of the centre are wide, direct and well signposted.

That is like the States building a multi-storey car park where we really need one... on the Royal Court and Royal Square.

The shopping centres back onto the main retail pedestrian area with the Victorian Arcades and Georgian Market leading onto Cardiff Castle and vast open parks. The Cardiff Bay area has recently been developed as another retail area and the space between the two retail areas is offices. Regular buses operate the road between the two areas or for those with more time to spare the water bus operates regularly between the Castle and the Bay. The City is serviced by three train stations. It is easy to get to, pleasant to shop in and easy to leave. No wonder it is growing so fast.

There were a few to let signs in the shopping streets of Cardiff but nothing like Jersey where it seems everything is up for sale or let, including at least three office blocks on the edge of the proposed six-storey tombstone to the Jersey Finance Industry planned for the Waterfront.