Tynwald Sitting
Another early start with a portrait presentation of Mr Peter Farrant by well know artist Svetlana Cameron. Her portraits are amazing in their detail.
Into the House of Keys Chamber for our annual photograph, then into the Tynwald Chamber. 32 questions for oral answer not surprisingly but nevertheless repetitive centering around the Court House in Ramsey among other things there were 3 tabled for me.
An informative on the introduction on the bathing water standards. I was able to reply that there was a commitment to try and introduce these over the next 4 years but this is heavily reliant on infrastructure investment by the MUA. Although in general terms there has been a steady improvement in bathing water quality at the 19 beaches around the Isle of Man with only 8 now falling in the poor category, over 10 meeting the minimum standard and some excellent.
A question about how much Island produce is used in our catering services research revealed that of the 8,000 kilos of red meat is all supplied from Island sources. 19,000 pints of milk from the creamery, 4,500 kilos of cheese and 1,500 kilos of butter as well as 125,000 loaves a year from the Ramsey Bakery.
Unfortunately we have insufficient pork, eggs or poultry production on Island to supply this requirement although around 20,000 local eggs are used and local vegetables when in season are available through wholesalers, particularly potatoes of which 6,000 kilos are used a year at Nobles.
So all in all not a bad story but one that we can improve on.
The last question was whether or not DEFA had considered taking over the management of the centralised catering service and the answer was no, quite emphatically and as announced later in the day centralisation has not been a success consequently autonomy will be to resource to secondary schools as a first step in breaking down the centre.
The order paper had some 29 items. There were statements 1) the review of the functioning of Tynwald 2). Introduction of a Tynwald Commissioner who has administration and safe guarding children’s board and 3) the census report. All moves in the right direction.
Most of the other business was fairly routine with the exception of two members motions. The first questioned the 6.4% rise in the water rate by the MUA which was amended to “Tynwald recognises the concerns raised by the increase of the water rate by 6.4% and notes and supports the undertaking of an independent review of the Manx Utilities financial position and requests that Treasury reports back to Tynwald by 2017.” This seemed a sensible compromise as we should not be micro managing statutory boards, especially without informed scrutiny.
The last motion called for an independent review of staffing throughout the public sector and I was pleased this was defeated, not because I feel that one is not due but because we are already engaged in a SAVE campaign that is wide ranging through all departments and the equality bill which should finally become part of the regulatory landscape this summer will by its nature prompt a Government wide review of all posts in terms of equality which would perhaps be a more appropriate time and cost effective way to review staffing levels and pay.
Published On: March 24th, 2017 / Categories: Uncategorised /