By J. Brock (FINN)
A public meeting with a presentation about Consultation on tax relief to support rural development was held in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall at 1700hrs on Tuesday, 22 April 2014.
The meeting began with a 10 minute presentation by head of Policy Mr Jamie Fotheringham who explained that the tax consultation came out of the rural development strategy where rural enterprise zones were identified. A focus has been put on Fox Bay Village jobs and businesses but the consultation is designed for anyone with a business and those who want to set up businesses in Camp.
Some of the proposals are:
1. Tax holiday for corporations from 3 to 6 years 2. Job tax allowance from £1,000.00 to £3,000.00 3. Enhanced depreciation on buildings and equipment of 100% 4. Depreciation on Renewable Energy of 150% 5. Tax relief for businesses that contribute to the Community in Camp. 6. Tax relief of 50 to 75% for individuals who invest in Community projects in rural enterprise zones
Questions to be asked during the consultation reflect on whether this is the right way forward; would it promote growth; and what is needed to enhance growth.
Annie Gisby asked why Fox Bay was targeted and Mr Fotheringham said it was because it had the better infrastructure and good access to water. The steering group had looked at this and recommended Fox Bay. However, Mr Fotheringham said that all views would be looked at in the process of the consultation.
Stella Prindle Middleton asked if an enterprise zone could be established on the East. Mr Fotheringham said he wanted to get one enterprise zone working before considering others but this matter is up for scrutiny during the consultation period.
Marilyn Grimmer asked about the kinds of enterprise that could be located at Fox Bay Village and Mr Fotheringham mentioned Information Technology and other work that could be done from home it could also be done from Camp.
Ian Hansen said that it this works it would encourage people in Camp to start businesses; and Phyl Rendell said that Mr Fotheringham will be having a word with the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
Mrs Grimmer asked about whether MPA could be considered Camp and if there would be tax benefits for people who worked both in Stanley and in the Camp. Mr Fotheringham said that Mount Pleasant complex was not considered to be in Camp.
The consultation mainly would look at Government businesses but also would consider private enterprise. If there is potential in any area there should be scrutiny on it.
Brian Summers asked if there would be tax breaks if oil related businesses moved to Camp and Mr Fotheringham said the Hydrocarbons industry in the Falklands would not be covered in the consultation but it would benefit a business generated in Camp.
Ging Davis mentioned that roads and other infrastructure needed to be improved before anyone would seriously be interested in starting up a business in Camp. Phyl Rendell agreed and said people needed to be given tools, like transport, to work with before they can start up a business. Ian Hansen mentioned full mobile phone coverage helping businesses.
Ging Davis mentioned the possibility of starting up the Fox Bay Mill again. He feels people gave up on it too early. Ian Hansen indicated it was a non-starter that had not been discussed yet. Mike Summers said that a lot of money would be lost in resurrecting an old business. It would be better spent on a new business. He went on to say that there werent any subsidised businesses in Camp.
A special mention about the new tanning business was made and set up as a good example of how a new business could achieve success at an early stage.
Stella Prindle Middleton wanted to know if people with existing renewable energy sources would benefit. Janie Fotheringham said there would be tax incentives when it was time to replace ageing systems.
Marilyn Grimmer asked if the tax incentives would apply to people coming in from overseas and Mr Fotheringham said it would. A written question focused on literature we can hand to tourists who are visiting these shores. There is material available but much of it has not been updated and is factually incomplete. It is suggested that we provide a free copy of Our Islands; Our History to incoming tourists. Barry Elsby suggested that any literature would be in different languages like Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, etc.. These items would be discussed with Mr Tony Mason, Head of Tourism.
Brian Summers wanted to make sure that shipping agents had up to date information that could go on tourist ships. Mike Summers mentioned that tour operators need to operate together sing of the same sheet- and manage the information they put out.
Stella Prindle Middleton mentioned the FITV programme on the Police station and the planning applications regarding the extension of the prison and the police station. She wondered if the whole thing were built outside Stanley of money on staffing could be saved. Mike Summers said that all options were open and that there would be a special public meeting on 01 May 2014 to discuss the police station and prison as well as other infrastructure like the old peoples home.
To get back to the police station, it would be impractical to tear it down and build new because it is a listed building. The cost of separating the prison and that of a new build are preventative and the extensions are the best option.
Marilyn Grimmer was happy with the mammogram team that visited the Falklands and Annie Gisby said the information put out about a mammogram test was negative and put her off. Mrs Grimmer said it was worth the risk to her but questions arose about the wording on the letter. Mike Summers said that if you read the info in any pack of pills bought in the shop and given as a prescription you would be put off. He went on to say that the X-Ray department was going to be revamped and mammogram facilities would be added at this time. Also it is envisaged that a team from the UK would come every two years to conduct the tests. The results could be e-mailed, analysed and returned efficiently.
Ging Davis brought up the fact that white goods were being removed from FIG rental properties. Roger Edwards said that it was decided not to do this and it was inconceivable that such a practice was reinstituted. Mr Davis said that the refrigerator was removed from a cabin and that the tenant had to go into debt to buy ne3w and have the window removed to put her refrigerator back into the cabin. The window subsequently was leaking.
Phil Middleton complained about the way H M the Queens Birthday Parade was organised. He pointed out that no one escorted the acting governors wife and Mrs Laforte. He also questioned why FIGAS didnt participate in the Fly-past and why there wasnt a 21 gun volley if there was no ammo for the saluting guns.
Mike Summers said there were insurance issues with FIGAS and a fly-past. Gary Clement had praise for Peter Biggs who called him about the explosions on the Camber. Mr Clement was able to confine his dog and play it music while the explosions were going off.
Finally, Brian Summers brought up the fact that the speed limits on the Airport Road have changed without the necessary approvals from EXCO. A person had been prosecuted for speeding in the area. Also the size of the signs indicating speed seemed to be too small, especially if a driver was new to the Falklands.
Jan Cheek said there needed to be subsidiary legislation to change the speed limit and Mike Summers said he would make enquiries.