Living Costs
Shopping
10 January 2023

Wholesale price of Jersey Dairy milk rises by 15 pence rise per litre

The wholesale price of Jersey Dairy milk has increased by 15 pence per litre. It’s not yet known which local supermarkets and stores will pass on the increase to their customers at the tills, or which, if any, will absorb the increase themselves. However, the increase came into effect on Monday, 9 January, and, by the following morning, one consumer told us that they’d already seen an increase of 17 pence per litre in one supermarket overnight. Jersey Dairy blames ‘significant increases in farm costs over the last year’ and says: ‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine, global trade barriers (including Brexit) and Chinese COVID-19 lockdowns have all caused supply chain issues, market volatility and sharply moving currency exchange rates, creating uncertainties, and impacting costs at Jersey Dairy and on Jersey dairy farms.’ In a statement on their website, they added: “The level of cost increases on local dairy farms, particularly fuel, imported feed, fertiliser, and wages are continuing to hit farms hard. “Jersey Dairy has also been subjected to significant inflationary cost increases on raw materials, packaging, fuel, energy, etc. During 2022, Jersey Dairy has implemented significant price rises to export markets to finance these escalating costs, with more increases planned for 2023.” It’s the second time in less than a year that the price of wholesale milk has increased, after it rose by eight pence per litre in February last year, which at the time was blamed on farming costs rising at a ‘magnitude not seen for many years’. Eamon Fenlon, Managing Director of Jersey Dairy, commented: “All of the income raised from this price increase will be passed back to our dairy farmers, however, this will be insufficient to address in full the farm profitability issue that has been identified, and hence price increases will also be implemented in our export markets. The Government are also exploring how they can play their part in addressing the situation.” Read Jersey Dairy’s full statement here. You can keep an eye on the price of milk, and other groceries, on our Price Comparison website, or download our Jersey Price Comparison app.
Living Costs
Shopping
15 December 2022

Cost of stamps to go up – just nine months after last increase

The cost of posting a letter will be going up from the start of next year – just nine months after Jersey Post last increased its postal tariffs. The increases mean that the cost of sending a ‘Rest of World’ letter at the start of next year will be almost double the price it was at the same time this year. ‘Rest of World’ letters, which apply to anywhere further than Europe, cost £1.30 for the first quarter of 2022, before rising to £1.75 in April. From January, they’ll be rising by another 80 pence to £2.55 Jersey Post’s latest stamp price increases are effective from Sunday, 1 January 2023. They follow a previous rise in postal tariffs on 1 April 2022. From January, Islanders who send letters to Europe will have to pay £1.85 for a stamp – a rise of 65 pence, from £1.20. Meanwhile, the New Year increases will also see the cost of posting local letters rise by four pence, from 56p to 60p, while letters to the UK, Isle of Man and other Channel Islands will rise by 16 pence, from 82p to 98p. Jersey Post blames the rises on increased operating costs and a decline in outbound mail. In a statement on Jersey Post’s website, Niall McClure, Managing Director, Postal and Logistics, said: “Due to the current economic climate, the postal sector as a whole is experiencing a number of challenges. “One significant challenge for us in Jersey is the high cost of the mail plane. Using the plane allows for next-day delivery for certain postal products to and from the UK. However, to operate the mail plane costs approximately £1.23 per item in conveyance charges. “Historically, we have subsidised the cost of sending mail by air. Where we can, we have tried to minimise the costs next year to the end customer. For one of our most popular routes, the 100g letter to the UK, we are absorbing some of the cost by only charging 98p. In addition, we have held the local 2023 price changes in line with June’s RPI which was 7.9%. The latest RPI figure as of September is 10.4%.” In a statement on its website, Jersey Post says it has seen a 13% decline in outbound mail volume so far this year, which is steeper than predicted, and this downward trend is forecast to increase in 2023. It adds that while outbound mail declines, Jersey Post’s operating costs remain high and that, from 1 January, the postal charges levied on Jersey Post by Royal Mail and other postal authorities will increase substantially. Last month, Jersey Post defended its decision not to make this year’s reduced-price Christmas stamps available to use during the month of December for the first time, after a number of Islanders contacted us to complain. Islanders have also contacted us this month about the increased costs of sending Christmas parcels to the UK and further afield.
Consumer Tips
Living Costs
Shopping
24 November 2022

Did you know you can apply for help to cover the cost of GST on food?

Jersey's government has received almost 4,000 submissions for the Community Cost Bonus this year. The annual payment is available to help Islanders who are struggling with increasing food costs. It used to be called the Food Cost Bonus and supports families who are just above the Income Support level, by covering the cost of GST on food. To date, 3,850 applications have been made for the 2022 payment, which has doubled this year from £258.25 to £516.50. The payment is available to households in which at least one person has lived in Jersey for the past five years, where no one is receiving income support, and if the household has a combined tax liability of less than £2,735.00 for 2021. On Thursday (24 November) a proposal to remove GST on food altogether was rejected by the States Assembly, by 27 votes to 17. You can apply for the bonus by visiting the gov.je/CCB website or by calling Customer and Local Services on 444444.
At Home
Living Costs
Money
10 June 2022

New Budget Tool Available

We're delighted to announce the launch of our Budget Tool.   It can be found by clicking on the 'Budget Tool' button at the top of the home page or clicking the link below.   Many of you used the old version so we've built this updated one to help Islanders with money management, especially during the current cost of living crisis.   It's best completed online but there is a print option enabling you to print and fill in by hand if you prefer. As you fill in your monthly income and out-going expenditure, the tool will automatically calculate and total, providing you with a final balance amount.   The information can be saved and recalled at a later date so it can be used to show your financial status to potential landlords, banks or lenders. It can also be updated as needed.   https://www.consumercouncil.je/budget    
Energy & Fuel
Living Costs
Money
27 April 2022

Jersey’s Government rejects calls for consumer help

Jersey’s Chief Minister has rejected a call from the Jersey Consumer Council to help Islanders through the current cost of living emergency.  The JCC took the unusual step to write to Senator John Le Fondré on 18 March, to ask him and his Government ministers to consider a package of measures which could help ease the financial pressures being put on consumers following a combination of Brexit, the economic recovery from Covid and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.   Combined, the three price rise drivers have resulted in record fuel prices, rocketing food prices and unprecedented energy price increases.   The five key measures the Council requested for a three month period were:    A reduction in fuel duty by 9p a litre  A £100 credit made available to each household to put towards their energy winter bill  Free bus journeys and free parking into town on Saturdays  A commitment to not introducing a reduction in the online shopping threshold before 2023  The establishment of a panel of Islanders and business leaders who could suggest further assistant measures    Below is the Chief Minister’s full letter dated 13 April 2022    Dear Carl,  Thank you for your letter, dated Friday, 18 March, relaying the suggestions of the Jersey Consumer Council (JCC). I apologise for the significant delay in replying to you.  The Government of Jersey is fully aware of the inflationary pressures facing all Islanders and has implemented support measures which were announced at the last States sitting by the Social Security Minister. Any measures adopted by the Government need to be targeted to achieve the maximum assistance to those most vulnerable to the effects of inflation.  The current inflationary pressure has largely arisen as a result of global factors that are beyond Jersey's control. However, in addition to the measures already taken, Ministers continue to consider further practical initiatives that can be taken where appropriate in the short and medium term to alleviate the impact of inflationary pressures will have on Islanders. These will be ready for presentation to the next Council of Ministers following the elections in June.   I have set out below detailed responses to each of the suggestions raised by the Consumer Council.     Reduce the duty on motor fuel by 9p per litre at the till  Whilst on a cursory basis this might appear attractive there are a number of concerns over this suggestion.  Reducing fuel duty is not an effective means of delivering help to Islanders. It does not benefit all households equally. Average mileage and fuel consumption in Jersey is significantly lower than in the UK. In addition, households on lower incomes - who have lower rates of car ownership - make up only a small percentage of motor fuel spending. A reduction in fuel duty would therefore disproportionately benefit those households with higher incomes and more vehicles, with some of those least well off receiving no benefit at all.  The Jersey Consumer Council's PriceComparison.je website on 21 March showed the cheapest litre of unleaded petrol in Jersey was 149.9p (in St Saviour) while the most expensive was 167.9p (in St Helier) - a difference of 18 pence. For diesel, the cheapest litre is to be had in St Helier at 153.0p in St Helier and the most expensive litre can also be had in St Helier for 173.9p - a difference of 20.9 pence, which is far greater than the reduction of 9p per litre which is proposed by the JCC. Islanders therefore already have the ability to achieve far greater savings than a reduction of 9p would achieve by being selective in where they purchase their motor fuel.  It should also be remembered that the States Assembly has declared a Climate Emergency and that we should be doing everything possible to encourage the use of public transport and other more climate friendly modes of transport at this time, many of which offer better value to islanders. The component of fuel duty hypothecated to the Climate Emergency Fund is essential in delivering on the commitments identified in the Carbon Neutral Roadmap that is due to go before the States in April.  A 9-pence reduction in fuel duty would reduce Government income by a little over £4 million per annum. The Carbon Neutral Roadmap proposes a suite of policies that seek to reduce Jersey's reliance on fossil fuels over the long term for reasons of sustainability (carbon reduction) but also to increase the affordability and security of our energy supplies. By reducing resources to deliver these policies, Jersey will remain exposed for longer to energy market supply issues and the geopolitical tensions associated with fossil fuel production that we are seeing causing the current market volatility and associated impacts.  Finally, in relation to a reduction in fuel duty it would also be important to have some degree of confidence that such a reduction would be passed on in full to consumers and I note that this concern is also being expressed in the United Kingdom.     Make £100 credit available for every household to spend on their chosen energy bill  It is important that any measures agreed by Ministers provides support in a way that is targeted to where it is most needed and can be of the most assistance. For this reason, a £100 credit to all households is not being actively considered. However Ministers have agreed a temporary scheme to support those most vulnerable. The Minister for Social Security has announced plans for monthly payments to support those most vulnerable in our community. This will take the form of a direct monthly payment of £20 to every adult or child in a household claiming Income Support and every pensioner claiming a means tested benefit.  This scheme will run from April to December 2022 and will benefit approximately 11,450 individuals. An eligible household of four will therefore receive £80 per month for nine months which is clearly more beneficial than a single payment of £100. Payments will be sent automatically - there will be no need for people to apply. These payments will also go to everyone receiving the Community Costs Bonus (CCB). Officers will also be exploring options for longer term support which will be considered by the new Council of Ministers following the election in June.     Commit to not reducing the online shopping threshold before 1 January  I can confirm that this is already the case and that the GST De Minimis Level will not be reduced (from £135 to £60) until mandatory registration of larger offshore retailers commences. As identified in the Law [Finance (2022 Budget) Law], which was approved by the States Assembly at the end of last year, the reduction in the GST De Minimis Level will not come into force until 1st January 2023.     Consider allowing free bus journeys to St Helier and/or three hours free parking on Saturdays  Whilst theoretically attractive, experience and evidence does suggest that these proposals can result in unintended consequences which would not achieve the desired outcome. Previous surveys indicate that Jersey consumers value the convenience of a location above the price of parking when choosing where to shop. Indeed, the percentage of respondents who considered the price of parking to be a factor was less than 10%.  It should be recognised that free parking could therefore work contrary to its intended result. As it removes the price incentive to walk, cycle or use the bus for town workers, this could generate additional demand for parking spaces making it harder to find a parking space which in turn may put people off shopping in the town.  Regarding free bus journeys, the most recent Household Spending survey found that bus fares averaged less than 0.2% of total expenditure - and that actually it was higher earners that spend more on public transport than lower earners.   Consider establishing an independent anti-inflation panel  The Government has reconstituted the Inflation Strategy Group to monitor changes and recommend any steps the Government can take to assist Islanders. This group has already met and is supported by the Chief Economic Advisor and Chief Statistician, and other specialist officers.  Current forecasts are for further changes in inflation over the course of the next year and the Government will aim to target any supportive measures to assist Islanders who are most vulnerable That is why we have put in place more than £2 million worth of assistance for those most affected by the current inflationary pressures, and which are taking affect during the course of this month.   I hope the above clearly addresses each of the points raised by the Consumer Council in your letter and provides the Council with confidence that the Government of Jersey is taking this matter seriously.   Yours sincerely  Senator John Le Fondré  Chief Minister    Consumer Council Chairman Carl Walker responded by saying: "We are very disappointed with the response from the Chief Minister and his team, and it is clear that the Government of Jersey believes it is already doing enough to help Islanders through these extremely difficult times.  "The Council has tried its best to prompt the Government to act beyond the £4.62 a week it has promised to those already on benefits, and will now concentrate on developing other work streams which may help consumers cope with this cost of living emergency.”    Islanders are welcome to share their thoughts on the JCC’s social media accounts or by emailing contact@consumercouncil.je  
At Home
Living Costs
22 April 2022

Netflix monthly subscription costs increasing this month

In January 2021, we advised you that Netflix was increasing its subscription prices. Well, just over a year later, they are increasing again. It may not be a surprise that the company recently announced that, for the first time, thousands of people in the UK have unsubscribed. The possible cause of this could be the current cost of living emergency, as people take a closer look at their financial situation and find ways to reduce their outgoing payments.    Now’s the time to check what plan you have and whether you actually need it. The monthly costs are increasing as set out below: Basic plan £6.99 p/m (£83.88 per year) - increased from £5.99 (no increase in 2021) Standard plan £10.99 p/m (131.88 per year) - increased from £9.99 (a £2 p/m or 23% increase in 15 months) Premium plan £15.99 (£191.88 per year) - increased from £13.99 (a £4 p/m or 34% increase in 15 months)   The higher the cost the more options available to you e.g. more screens can view at the same time and HD or ultra HD. By switching your plan you could save up to £108 this year. It’s easy to change, simply: Log in to your Netflix account and go to ‘Plan Details’. In the ‘Change plan’ option, select the plan you want. Click ‘Continue’ and ‘Confirm’ Your plan will be changed immediately but we suggest you do this as close to the next billing date as possible because you won’t get any money back – you’ll simply pay less the next time you’re billed.