15th March – Tynwald Court
A full order paper with an additional supplementary paper with three more items.
There were 12 questions for oral answer, 5 of which centred around one subject matter, in essence whether Treasury has any influence on winding companies up over tax liabilities. The outcome of which was that the tax authorities have autonomy in this respect and if it comes to local companies where employment is at risk then they may exercise discretion.
A question to the Health Minister about over supply of repeat prescriptions which are costing literally tens of thousands of pounds a year for prescribed drugs which are not used.
Much of the rest of the order paper revolved around functionary regulation and amendments to Acts.
However, the Douglas Railway Station refurbishment was passed almost unanimously.
Of interest locally, the public account report of Procurement of dredging at Peel and related services revealed some shortcomings that have lead to disciplinary procedures within the Department. Unfortunately the report in my opinion did not go far enough in, it should have investigated the background and why it turned into what was promulgated as an emergency extraction of accumulated shingle.
The Dependability debate continued around capability assessments. I had thought that Treasury had done sufficient to alleviate members concerns but no, we spent nearly an hour and a half debating the same and now the matter has been referred to Social Affairs Policy Review Select Committee on which I sit, which already has a fairly complex schedule of inquiries and in particular looking at Social Services and adoption but we are tasked to report by June 2016.
I know these capabilities have the capacity to cause much distress and anxiety to vulnerable people there have already been over 750 assessments with just over 2000 to go with very few appeals that have been upheld.
The matter of Bathing Water Standards came up. Very relevant to Peel and we adopted a motion that makes the EU Bathing Water Standards of 2006 an objective to bring the island into parity with our neighbouring jurisdictions.
We finally finished around 10.15pm, a late night!