Lack of Sark business plan deemed unhelpful
Saturday 19th October 2013, 10:00AM BST.
AN ECONOMIC development strategy is needed to turn around Sark’s disappointing level of business confidence, its Chamber of Commerce has said.
The group’s first business questionnaire, which from now on is hoped can act as a barometer for the island’s economy, showed 86% of businesses believed the island was performing poorly.
And 82.5% of the 64 respondents believed trading conditions would be the same or worse next year.
Chamber president Paul Armorgie, pictured, said the results were desperately disappointing.
However, he added he was keen to work with Chief Pleas to react to the situation.
‘Chief Pleas has to provide the framework for creating jobs and a strong economy,’ he said.
‘Above all else, Sark does not have a business plan and without it we don’t know which direction to pull in.
‘We have those saying tourism is the best way forward, we have those saying it’s IT, others saying it’s farming and fishing – we need an overarching strategy that says this is important to Sark’s economy.’
The chamber highlighted the need for a strategy in a letter to Minister of State for Justice Lord McNally during his visit to the island.
Mr Armorgie said since then there had been progress, including economic workshops.
‘We’ve also had a number of meetings with Cable and Wireless, Sark Shipping and members of Chief Pleas.
‘We’ve absolutely got to work together to get things happening.’
Other results of the survey showed only a third of respondents were considering investing in the next 12 months, 61% believed Sark should aggressively encourage economic growth and 79% believed a committee of Chief Pleas should have ‘economic strategy’ included in its mandate.
Mr Armorgie said individual Sark Estate Management business had been invited to participate in the survey, but chose not to.
He said these individual businesses were invited to join the Chamber, however not SEM as a whole.
‘Our idea is for the Chamber of Commerce to speak on behalf of small businesses,’ he said.
‘We’re happy for individual SEM businesses to join but we don’t want chamber dominated by one large business as a whole.’