Dr Ian Skinner, Thursday 8 December 2016
Whatever your reason for being or staying in Jersey, it’s important to protect the things that make the Island special – we want it to be a great place to live, socialise, grow up and belong; a place where community and people matter.
We asked Islanders about these important issues in our recent My Jersey online survey, which is part of a wider consultation to help shape a long-term vision for Jersey. The areas where most Islanders felt Jersey was doing well were:
But affordable living was the one big sticking point. It was the only issue on which an outright majority of people felt negatively about the Jersey they live in today. Their concern lay around whether Islanders can independently afford a decent standard of living.
What is a decent standard of living? In everyday life, there are essential goods and services we need to meet our basic needs and to enable us to take part, meaningfully, in Island life. For people on low incomes, a greater amount of money is used on these everyday essentials than better-off households, and to them, price rises can have a significant impact on what they can and cannot afford to buy and do.
“Housing standards and costs are challenging”
Islanders’ comments revealed the strength of feeling about how housing costs and the gap between the cost of living and earnings affect people’s lives, their choices and their quality of life. “Housing standards and costs are challenging,” one person said. “I’m not surprised people don’t want to come here once they discover the cost of living,” said another. Others said:
There were also comments from people who felt more positive about their situation, such as: “I think my standard of living is high due to the fact that I can be at the beach in five minutes from anywhere and Jersey is safe and clean, there is little commuting etc.”
But they went on to say: “…property prices are outrageous and the cost of living really needs to reduce. It is simply unfair that with two adults working full-time in a standard household, the average family can’t afford to buy a three-bedroom house. We are one of the lucky families that own our own home but I feel for those who will never achieve that.”
Our work/ life balance
Work/life balance was another area the survey asked about. Overall Islanders felt positively about it – 39% of people said they were happy that they were finding a balance between time spent at work and time spent with family and on their personal lives.
Islanders acknowledged the natural advantages of Island life in terms of access to coast and countryside and short commuting distances, but many felt that living costs had a severe impact, affecting their opportunity to start a family, or, as parents, the time available to spend with their children. Two issues that were repeatedly highlighted in comments were the inadequacies of maternity leave and the cost of nursery care:
Houses, the cost of living and achieving a work/ life balance play an enormous part in our daily lives and how we function as a community. In my next blog, I’ll look at your views on our Jersey’s natural environment, which is key to the Island’s appeal as a place to live.
Want to see if fellow Islanders share your thoughts about Jersey today and expectations for the future? Here are all the results from the survey.Find out more >
Crime, education, discrimination, mental health and sport - find out more about the long-term ambitions being proposed for these areas of community life in Jersey.Read more > >
Interested in the long-term ambitions being proposed to improve traffic congestion in Jersey? How about water quality, the protection of green space and energy use?Read more > >
Migration, the cost of buying a home, consumer prices and unemployment – there are proposed long-term ambitions for each of these economic issues.Read more > >