Budget Day
Two order papers. The first dealing with normal Tynwald business and questions, the second dealing with the budget and the commiserate changes to the various Treasury Acts such as income tax etc.
The debate which went on until mid afternoon was well focused and I am pleased to say that new members had done their research and there were some interesting and sensible observations as well as requests for clarification.
In my speech I congratulated the Treasury Minister and his team for preparing a comprehensive budget based on the new Programme for Government in what is in effect a very short and tight time scale.
The budget speech has been well reported and I welcomed the increase personal allowances/benefit upgrades and the commitment to address the ongoing budget deficit.
From a DEFA point of view my speech implored Treasury not to see farm subsidies as an easy target for future cuts. I tried to explain the realities around Meat Plant subvention and a requirement for Government to do what it needs to do within a budget rather than what it wants to do. This point was acknowledged by the Treasury Minister.
For those interested in more detail the budget speech is listed here www.gov.im/media/1355348/budget-speech-20170221-final.pdf
As seems to be the tradition Baker Tilly provided a very pleasant buffet lunch.
With the budget vote out of the way and 100% supported we moved to the main order paper. My department had three oral questions, one directly to myself about improving energy efficiency standards and two to my colleague Chairman of OFT around fuel prices in the Isle of Man compared to those in the UK.
We had one piece of legislation; The Housing Miscellaneous Provision Act 2011, which was basically an amending order to remedy a deficiency in term of penalties for non compliance with standards prescribed in the regulation under Housing Standards Act.
DOI moved an amendment to the Harbours Act to bring in mandatory pleasure craft insurance for users of Harbours and Marinas. This attracted considerable debate around whether this was justified but in the end was passed with a substantial majority.
We finished at around 1930 which I am assured is a record for a budget day, in as much that sittings normally run for two days and is perhaps a reflection of the inclusive nature of the new administration.