Keys Sitting – very much overshadowed by the Panorama programme the night before and allegations of tax avoidance through the Isle of Man. People who watched it will draw their own conclusions but I felt it was a very disjointed programme that never really got anywhere. It pointed a lot of fingers but didn’t expose any illegality and our Chief Minister had already addressed the issues in earlier press releases. I felt it was more a dig at rich people than examining the realities and facilitation that we offer. OECD have said that we are a very compliant jurisdiction, in the past I have been critical, that we have signed up to nearly everything that’s come through the system in terms of anti-avoidance but they still want more. He criticism was perhaps unfounded. As far as I could determine no one has done anything illegal and the reality is none of us want to pay more tax than we have to. It starts at the bottom when we buy our duty frees and runs right through the system and as long as its legal, so be it. If the BBC or Guardian don’t like the way the system operates then they need to get the government to change the rules. During our lunchtime presentation we learnt that our insurance business has assets of over £64 billion invested through the island and that’s just one sector. The reality is if we don’t do the business then someone else will. The isle of man is no haven for aggressive tax avoidance or evasion.

The sitting itself comprises 20 oral questions. I fielded two; one on the tender process for the Meat Plant, the situation is still confidential but I am hoping that I will be able to report some progress within the next two to three weeks. The second question revolved around the Castle Mona and whether it was a protected building and any damage that had happened over the last few years. I was able to reassure that we have been able to monitor the situation and as a registered building any works that take place in the near future, as the building is now sold, will be subject to planning and registered building consent.

The Chief Minister made a statement which I have alluded to elsewhere and the link is as follows with regard to the paradise papers.

We had an urgent question with regard to Age Concern and meals on wheels which I have to confess had given me some concern and that statement is available on this link and is offered some reassurances

We considered clauses on Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2017 and Road Traffic, Licensing and Registration (Amendment) Bill 2017. The first reading of the Safeguarding Bill 2017 and finally standing orders was suspended to allow council amendments to the Gambling (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism) Bill 2017.

Lunchtime presentation by the insurance industry, also alluded to earlier, in terms of their importance to the island as a second largest sector after egaming.