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Guernsey Launches Business Survey

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Businesses in Guernsey are being asked to take part in the States’ first Annual Business Survey later this month. The Policy Council is launching the survey in an attempt to improve the breadth and depth of economic data available to policymakers.

Businesses will be asked for details on turnover, the cost of sales, assets owned, financial liabilities, workforce, training and pensions. Precise data on export earnings is requested and information on the levels of investment in local businesses will give an idea of the sensitivity of sectors to changing economic conditions.

The form, which goes out on February 22 and should be returned by Easter, also asks for growth estimates for 2010 and for a view on factors expected to have an effect on growth next year.

States Economist, Andy Sloan said that a good response to the survey would help the States with future economic planning, as certain key baseline data is currently not available to the government. “Possession of comprehensive, up-to-date and accurate economic statistics is vital for the construction of economic models which inform policy analysis,” he explained.

“This is important for various reasons but particularly to assess future economic performance, fiscal revenues for the States and thus better assess the impacts on the economy of any changes to tax structures.”

“At this present moment, the range of statistics collated by the States of Guernsey prohibits certain analysis due to a lack of historic information on key macroeconomic variables particularly investment, fixed capital and exports.”

“We hope that the Annual Business Survey, therefore, will provide statistically robust data for modelling purposes by plugging the gaps of these key variables. The result hopefully is better-informed analysis and policy.”

Sloan added: “While responses are not mandatory, the better the response rate, the better quality of data achieved and the more informed our analysis is.”

All information will be kept confidential – results will be published in aggregate on an island-wide and sector-wide basis – and the survey has been deliberately kept short and concise. He asked businesses to be prepared to complete what they could. Half-completed forms were preferable to no returns, he said.

Deputy Lyndon Trott, Chief Minister, stated:

“This is not about trying to predict the future. This is about historical data and trends which will significantly improve the quality of the data that the States holds and will inform our fiscal and economic policy-making. I strongly urge companies to help us ensure that the policy process is as informed as it can be and to complete this survey.”

Deputy Carla McNulty Bauer, Commerce and Employment Minister added::

“The lack of historic trade and investment data across all business sectors is not unusual for a small jurisdiction such as ourselves, but the only way we can collect this broad range of information is via surveys. I believe that this survey is not too time-consuming to complete, as we’ve deliberately tried to keep the questions down to a minimum.”

“I sincerely hope that individual businesses and businessmen and women will see the benefit of contributing to this survey. The information is of great importance to help government have a greater factual understanding of the local economy, and, in turn, ensuring that States decision-making is as informed and evidence-based as possible.”