NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
Today was the closing day for submissions on the consultation document issued by the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development on the governments Economic Development Fund.
The EDF is quite a big deal for the Island in that despite our straightened fiscal circumstances the government has decided to stimulate development by releasing £50 million pounds of our money (from the reserves) in five tranches of £10 million over the next five years. It is if you like a classic interventionist five year plan.
I say ‘it’s a big deal’ because as the government contemplate this largesse towards possibly untried businesses and ventures most of the Manx population are having to tighten their belts and a slew of hidden charges and taxes are affecting individuals and businesses alike.
To commit this amount of money is a ‘risk’ that’s the Chief Minister’s view not mine and he could be right. Alternatively he could be wrong hence one assumes the opportunity for the public to submit their view. I submitted a personal perspective yesterday suggesting a modified approach which if adopted would be both more cautious and ‘in real terms’ probably cost neutral (link):
Doubtless others will enthusiastically support the plan and others will oppose it completely.
The big issue however is that many people will not have submitted a view at all. The window for submissions was 6 weeks. The consultation opened on the 22nd of July and closed today. However allowing for the first 5-10 days for the issue to be well publicised (unless the government web page on open consultations is compulsive reading for you) and the time of year (prime time holiday) many people will be unaware it has even gone out to consultation.
Let’s be blunt even the Chief Minister (CM) was off to Dublin last week looking for guidance on their EDF so if he had been making a submission it would be pretty late! (link):
Today I emailed Laurence Skelly at midday to say the window for submission should be extended and also that the public should be made more au fait with what is involved.
After all it is only in the last few days that the CM has described the venture as risky and (extrapolating the Irish example) has suggested anything up to £17 million of this money could be wasted. Even if this late and rather startling revelation by our Chief Minister startles you it’s to bad the consultation has closed today.
The governments own code says consultations should be a minimum of six weeks. For something as important and costly as this it should be longer and it would be useful and principled if they did extend it!
Issued by the Celtic News
THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues