European stock markets were upbeat early Friday, with the benchmark Stoxx 600 index up 0.4%. Most sectors saw gains, with mining stocks up 1.7% and oil and gas 1% higher as healthcare dropped 0.4%. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.74% while Germany’s DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 were up 0.64% and 0.5%, respectively.
Stock futures rose as traders looked ahead to Friday’s May jobs report and cheered lawmakers passing a debt ceiling bill that averts a U.S. default. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 157 points, or 0.5%, while S&P 500 futures added 0.5%. Nasdaq-100 futures rose 0.5%.
Asia-Pacific shares mostly rose as traders look ahead to the U.S. May jobs report, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index trading as high as 4% and leading gains in the wider region.
Elsewhere, the Kospi closed 1.25% higher as South Korea’s consumer inflation for May cooled to a 19-month low, easing for the fourth straight month. The Nikkei 225 traded up 1.21% to 31,524.22. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.79% to close at 3,230.07 while the Shenzhen Component climbed 1.497%, ending at 10,998.07.
Ministers unveil eight-year plans for hospital
The Hospital will be replaced with health facilities at Overdale, Kensington Place and St Saviour’s Hospital, if plans revealed by ministers yesterday are given the go-ahead. More than a decade after the Island’s needs for a new hospital were first set out, a draft feasibility study has been issued by the government outlining how new facilities would be developed in stages across the next eight years, with the aim of completing the work by the end of 2031. Under the plans, an acute inpatient hospital would be built at Overdale, with an outpatients’ facility at Kensington Place and Gloucester Street and a new ‘health village’ near St Saviour’s Hospital. Funding for the first phase of the New Healthcare Facilities programme is due to be debated as part of the Government Plan process in December. Ministers have listed a series of advantages to pushing ahead with a multi-site approach. They say that the scheme would be lower-risk in financial and construction terms than a single-site facility, leaving scope for future expansion and key-worker accommodation. They also highlight smaller buildings than those of previous schemes and the fact that no ‘substantial changes’ would be required to Westmount Road, the Jersey Bowling Club or Westmount Terrace.
Ministers said this was ‘possible because of the predicted reduced traffic movements to the site, given that not all services will be located there’. Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet said in March that the Jersey Bowling Club had been given ‘99% certainty’ that it would not need to leave its current home on Westmount Road, with the 110-year-old club previously having been destined to move from its historic green to Warwick Farm in order for the road to be straightened, flattened and widened as part of the past government’s Our Hospital project. But having ruled out the previous scheme, saying it was unaffordable, the government has yet to give any idea of how much its latest proposals would cost. Ministers have been unable to say whether any savings will be made on the £804million price tag for the single-site Overdale plan, which was passed by the previous States Assembly but then placed on hold, and ultimately scrapped, by the new government. Critics, including members of Reform Jersey and former Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham, who held political responsibility for the hospital project between 2018 and 2022, have seized on the lack of detailed costings and expressed concern that the eventual bill will surpass the Our Hospital figure. Two options were outlined at a series of evaluation workshops held in recent weeks, with marks awarded across a series of categories. The preferred option eventually scored 359 points out of a maximum score of 567, more than twice the 178 figure for the alternative scheme, in which the two sites would have retained their existing uses.
Cost of GP visit to be reduced by £20 for all Islanders
The cost of face-to-face GP appointments will be reduced by £20 for all Islanders from today, the Social Security Minister has announced. Deputy Elaine Millar said she hoped that free GP visits would also be available for children as soon as July. The new scheme – which doubles the current subsidy for a GP visit – has been developed to help Islanders with the rising cost of living. Practices will also be paid an additional £5 per consultation to support them with the increased costs of running their businesses. Telephone consultations with other health professionals, such as nurses or health care assistants, will continue to be supported by other Health Insurance Fund agreements and not by this new scheme, meaning the cost to the patient will remain the same.
Deputy Millar said: ‘I am pleased that we have reached this agreement and have been able to tackle the cost of fees for GP appointments. I am grateful to the GPs for their support and implementing these changes over a challenging time frame. ‘This new contract doubles the subsidy for a GP surgery visit. As the cost of living continues to be a challenge, it is important that we continue to make positive changes to support Islanders and make it easier for them to access the care they need.’ She added: ‘In addition, my team are also working with the GPs to provide free services for all children. Our aim is to have this in place for July and I look forward to announcing the details of this scheme.’
Petition to keep the Island’s daily mail plane running
The managing director of an air-freight-handling company has launched a petition calling on the government to keep the Island’s daily mail plane running. Christopher Bee, of OceanAir Handling, said he feared that if the service was lost, his business could be forced to close while Jersey’s ‘already fragile economy could be jeopardised’ because of the impact on logistics. Mr Bee said his company had been responsible for managing the Island’s air cargo for nearly 35 years, handling all items transported by commercial or charter aircraft. The mail plane brings between five and seven tonnes of post to the Island each day. However, as part of a strategy to ‘simplify and update’ its operation, Royal Mail has proposed replacing the daily flights with a ferry service. The organisation argues that this would offer a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option.
The proposed change would probably result in an extra working day being added to delivery times, with the service being further affected by adverse weather conditions. While Royal Mail is bound by Ofcom regulations to offer a next-day delivery service, the company has proposed a change to Jersey’s ‘due date’ definition to allow an extra working day for packages to arrive in the Channel Islands. Mr Bee warned that should the mail plane be terminated, OceanAir’s operations would be left ‘economically unviable’, leaving the Island without any air-freight handling. This, he said, would mean ‘there will be no way of anything getting off this Island in less than two days’. The knock-on effects of this, he stated, ‘will be far greater than the cost of the mail plane’.
He said: ‘Our infrastructure is incredibly delicate. Many aren’t aware of the silent services we deliver, from managing mail and courier flights to transporting medical equipment and blood transfusions. We relocate your pets globally and even handle the repatriation of human remains.’ He added: ‘Our business landscape, heavily reliant on punctual, efficient logistics, stands on the brink of disaster. Slow and inconsistent deliveries will undoubtedly undermine businesses, hinder growth and jeopardise our already fragile economy. ‘Our air-freight infrastructure is not simply about transport – it underpins the heartbeat of Jersey’s commerce.’ Last week, Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel announced that, as part of the consultation process, he would write to Royal Mail to convey the concerns of local businesses. He said: ‘I am satisfied that Jersey Post understands the likely impacts of these decisions on the local economy and that the company is now actively working with the sector to minimise any disruption to its customers. ’The Royal Mail consultation runs until Friday. Any changes will take effect on 3 August.
Weekly Flights to Munich start
A five month schedule of weekly flights between Jersey and the capital of Bavaria have started with the arrival of the first flight from Munich last Saturday. Flights will be operated every Saturday by Air Dolomiti, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lufthansa. The service will operate until 28 October, using a 120-seat Embraer 190 aircraft. Ports of Jersey chief executive Matt Thomas said: ‘This time of year is always exciting as we welcome our seasonal routes to Jersey, and Air Dolomiti is especially welcome this year as they take on the Jersey-Munich route under their own name. This is an important route, connecting Jersey with Germany throughout the summer season. ‘It’s important that we attract visitors from Europe as well as from the UK, as tourism plays a critical role for the Island – we look forward to many successful years of collaboration with Air Dolomiti as they develop their Jersey route.’
Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel said: ‘I’m delighted with the return of the Jersey-Munich route – it’s important that we continue to maintain and develop our links with Europe, as greater connectivity offers a welcome boost, not only to our hospitality industry, but also our wider economy. ’Other seasonal flights operating this summer include charter flights operated by Blue Islands from Stuttgart, Groningen, Rotterdam and Zurich, Fly Direct routes to Spain and Portugal, plus scheduled services including Blue Islands’ flights to Rennes and easyJet’s weekly service to Amsterdam.
Alfa Romeo racing car joins line-up for Jersey motoring festival
An Alfa Romeo racing car that achieved a podium finish at the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix is set to be a star attraction at the Jersey International Motoring Festival, which opens today and will run until Sunday. More than four decades after being driven to third place in Monte Carlo by Italian Formula One driver Andrea De Cesaris, an Alfa Romeo 182 car will run down Victoria Avenue over the next two evenings. The F1 car was a late addition to an already exciting line-up for the event, sponsored by Rubis Channel Islands. Marketing co-ordinator Alex Salmon said it had added an extra buzz of anticipation in the build-up to the festival. He said: ‘The Alfa 182 has a three-litre V12 engine and will definitely be one to look – and listen – out for. ‘Seeing a car like this will hark back to the International Road Race when it was staged here back in the day, but it will also act as a great “headline act” to promote the festival in 2023.’ The first glimpse of the Alfa 182 will be on offer at around 9pm tonight when it forms part of the Rolling Roadshow, featuring vehicles from local marque clubs and others from motorsport, that will take place on Victoria Avenue between 7pm and 11pm. The festival will also mark the 100th anniversary of Le Mans, with another star attraction being the Emka Aston Martin C83 Group C Le Mans car that took part in the 24-hour race in 1983.
Other highlights of the event include:
The Classic Vintage & Modern Racing Club of Jersey sprint on Victoria Avenue from 7pm on today, with the Alfa 182 running along the course to start the event and a range of food and drink stalls on the lower park. The Westmount Hill Climb on Saturday between 10am and 5pm. On both Saturday and Sunday there will be static displays in the People’s Park between 9.30am and 6pm, along with trade stands, food and drink outlets, and a kids’ zone in the Lower Park. Other important anniversaries will be 75 years since the first Porsche sports car was manufactured and 60 years of the iconic Porsche 911, with members of the Jersey chapter of Porsche Club GB bringing out their vehicles to add to the spectacle. Islanders are advised to be mindful of road closures that will be in force during the event, with full details available at jimf.je.
Sunset Concerts will return later this month
Islanders are set to dust off their picnic blankets for an evening of live music as a staple of Jersey’s summer calendar returns this month. Organised by The National Trust for Jersey, the Sunset Concerts are due to be held at Mont Grantez – overlooking St Ouen’s Bay – on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June. Friday’s concert will include a performance by Irish duet ‘Stray Melody’ supported by a school band from Hautlieu and a local act called ‘The Word On The Street’. Saturday is to be headlined by a ‘Glastonbury Legend’s’ themed set performed by local band ‘The Jersey Bounce’, supported by live function group ‘Roodmood’. All proceeds from the concerts will go towards the Trust’s campaign to save areas of the Island’s coastline.
‘Our vision for the coastline campaign is to ensure that Jersey’s remaining areas of unspoilt coastline are permanently protected, clean and healthy, rich in wildlife and accessible for both Islanders and visitors to enjoy,’ a spokesperson for the Trust said. ‘We have pledged to permanently protect a further 1,000 vergées of unspoilt coastline by 2036. Due to the generosity of our benefactors and partners, we have so far raised an incredible £8.1 million enabling us to save Plémont, restore Devil’s Hole and acquire a small number of additional sites. ‘We can continue to build upon our early success and realise our long-term vision of having a coastline protected forever and for everyone and the Sunset Concerts are one way of helping us achieve this aim,’ they added. Islanders interested in purchasing tickets for the concerts should visit the events section of the National Trust for Jersey website.
Jersey enters ‘absolute drought’
Jersey yesterday entered an ‘absolute drought’ following 15 consecutive days without measurable rainfall. The dry conditions are expected to last until at least Sunday, with temperatures peaking in the high teens. However, the strong north-easterly wind, which has taken the edge off the temperatures and even cancelled some ferry services over the weekend, is also set to continue. The UK Met Office, which publishes long-range forecasts on its website, says the settled conditions could last until at least the middle of next month.