House of Keys Sitting
The order paper was somewhat shortened as Mr Karran phoned in sick which meant that 16 questions out of the 21 tabled were carried forward to next week.

Questions of interest included the multiplier effect to local businesses of people and Government buying and using local suppliers. Research indicates that for every pound spent with local suppliers generates £1.83 in benefit to the local economy, whilst for money spend with off shore suppliers only 58p remains on island. This led to supplementary questions on Government procurement and use of local service/suppliers.

A question about the role of the Planning Enforcement Officer struck a cord with me as a former Commissioner we found the Enforcement process very frustrating and under resourced. The Enforcement Officer deals with some 250-300 requests/enquiries a year and at present there are 151 open cases. The Minister did make the point that wherever possible they try to get people to regularise situations or make retrospective applications which does lead to some frustration when people who go about this process properly see others on occasions seeming to get away with it.

There were two motions, one passed to allow the motion on Public Sector Pensions to be broadcast on Manx Radio, this was passed unanimously and followed by the debate on Pensions, a very hot issue at the moment, after the debate in Tynwald was delayed until June members including myself are very concerned that we don’t have all the information and we want Treasury, along with the actuaries, to give us more scenarios that look at reducing number of public sector employees, different economic performance parameters as well as the overall economic effect of the changes at present tabled. It is essential that we get this right as there are huge financial consequences if we don’t. The motion passed unanimously and we now wait for Treasury’s response.

At lunchtime we had a presentation by Susan Walker of the Alzheimer’s Society where we were involved in a number of question and answer exercises which really brought home the affect of the various types of dementia. Devastating to people affected but manageable to a certain degree if people make allowances generally.