8th March
House of Keys sitting – 13 oral questions and 6 written. First reading of the National Health Care Services Bill 2016. Second reading Council of Minister (Amendment) Bill 2016, an interesting debate but a unanimous vote to continue with the Bill which will allow for the Chief Minister to be elected only from elected members of Tynwald not the Legislative Council. This would bring us in line with most mature democracies.
Third reading of the renamed Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Amendment) Bill 2016. Several further questions on the Dependability Personal Capability Assessments, however many of the queries were put to bed with a detailed presentation from Treasury at lunchtime on procedures, appeals and assessments to date.
Around 750 assessments have been carried out to date with around another 1,750 to carryout over the next two years. I am pleased to say there is a robust appeal structure in place and that a very small percentage of people are having to appeal with a considerable number now either entering work or claiming other types of benefit.
Dependability
An interesting question about how much tax has been raised from large local and multinational retail businesses turning over £500,000 a year or more. When introduced it was expected to raise £3 million but in the first year it raised £1.98 million and in the last year £2.1 million, mainly due to a down turn of around 21% in retail business on the Island.
A question about Education and Children Policy and children walking to school, a bit of a no brainer bearing in mind the Health Strategy which is encouraging people to exercise more and that includes children.
The Health Minister was asked why we are not training more nurses on island, they are now currently training 20 and there will be a further addition to this number but there is a capacity problem and also a speciality problem that precludes training from on island in most specialities therefore the majority are still sent across.
Of the written questions there were some detailed questions on tax thresholds and corporation tax. It is interesting to note that over 17,000 single/independently assessed and jointly assessed couples pay zero tax.
The average affective tax rate for all resident tax payers in 2013/14 tax year was 7.41%.
Also interesting to note that incomes in the Isle of Man are on average around 10% more than in the UK for similar jobs.