Tynwald Court
An interesting order paper, three oral questions for me but unfortunately I was unable to answer them in person and had to delegate to Tim Baker MHK, one of my department members who by all accounts acquitted himself well.
Two questions regarding the introduction of a plastic bag levy, something that seems to have reduced plastic bag use dramatically in other jurisdictions. It is our intention on Island to endeavour to engage with the larger retailers to introduce a levy on a voluntary basis that can be used for good causes on Island. Two retailers already do this, Marks and Spencer and Boots both of whom already contribute to good causes.
I was granted leave to attend a meeting and lunch with the Westminster Justice Committee, a constructive meeting with stakeholders from the agriculture food and fisheries industry who were able to explain their particular concerns with regard to Brexit. This committee will be reporting to the UK parliament in due course. Our biggest fear is that crown dependencies will either be forgotten in the process of negotiating Brexit or worse still our interests sacrificed in negotiations.
I returned to Tynwald after lunch and picked up the end of the Programme for Government debate which comprised some sensible and interesting contributions. The best thing about it was we all voted unanimously for it, a wonderful achievement and one that does show and demonstrate the inclusivity of the new administration, Chief Minister and Council of Ministers.
From a constituency perspective I was pleased to see the Rock Mount and Peel Marina silt paper accepted. The Douglas promenade horse trams debate resulted in an amendment which will ensure tracks are laid along the whole of the promenade. An excellent outcome judging by the number of letters and emails I have had on this subject.
The code of conduct for journalists, amendments were accepted which is the first step towards a televised Tynwald. Something that a number of members of the public have been pressing for. We will all have to up our dress code and there will be no sleeping in the Chamber under such scrutiny!
I had to present three pieces of legislation all involving Animal Health and Trade in animal related products and Rabies Control. All of passed unanimously. My department colleague Mr Perkins MHK  as Chairman of the IOM Office of Fair Trading bought through unanimously the Consumer Protection (Cancelation of Relevant Contracts) Regulations which in essence makes cold calling illegal.
There were further debates on nursery place provision for the under twos which will now be referred to the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee. Catering Services which revolved around local procurement and this was broadened out to include all services and procurement which are undergoing review within Treasury and will hopefully place more emphasis on local supply and procurement.
And finally a debate on a living wage. I found this a little difficult as we already have a minimum wage and whilst the UK has adopted a living wage I think some work needs to be done on this particularly as it’s voluntary and by definition subjective.