• March 3, 2015


The Manx Chief Minister has said in relation to Welfare Reform that ‘doing nothing is not an option’.

He was responding to a query from the Celtic League who had asked if the Government would consider an Island wide consultation on the issue similar to that undertaken by Gallup on Quality of Life in the Isle of Man by the Walker Government in the late 1980s.

The Chief Minister assures that:

“As the debate progresses and more detailed proposals emerge then there will undoubtedly have to be a much more extensive consultation with all interested parties”

The text of the Chief Ministers response is set out in full below:

“The review has been stimulated by both the major changes suggested for the UK system, as we have a number of reciprocal arrangements with them over pensions and benefits and also the rapidly changing age demographic in the Island to ensure that we can sustain a viable pensions structure for the future. If we are to protect today`s younger generation from pension poverty in the future we must put a system in place at an early date to ensure sustainability in the long term.

Although Eddie Teare is running a number of road shows this week, at this stage they are designed to highlight the problems we face and to get an early idea of what the public response might be.

As the debate progresses and more detailed proposals emerge then there will undoubtedly have to be a much more extensive consultation with all interested parties.

However, the one thing we are clear on is that given the information that we now possess doing nothing is not an option which would undermine the welfare of future generations.”

Allan Bell (via email 2nd March 2015)

Original CL query text below:

“The Chief Minister
Allan Bell MHK
Chief Minister Office
Government Buildings
Isle of Man

28th February 2015

Dear Chief Minister,

Firstly on a personal note can I say that I was pleased to see your interview on MTTV in which you set out that you are again in good health and were able to debunk some of the more outlandish ailments attributed to you by both social media and the ‘skeet’ on the street.

Also could I thank you for facilitating via your colleague, Mr Ronan MHK, a reply to our query on ‘fiscal transparency’ during your absence. I feel sure some of the proposals for the future which he outlined will be beneficial.

Turning to the substance of this query:

Social Security/Welfare Review

I understand that your government is to conduct a review of welfare provision including State Pension and the funding of same going forward.

To this end a series of meetings have been organised at various venues on the Island to, I presume, both inform the debate and obtain feedback.

You may recall that in the late 1980s the government of Sir Miles Walker commissioned a survey into ‘The Quality of Life in the Isle of Man’. If my memory serves me well it was commissioned via the Gallup organisation and published in 1990.

I could be wrong but I believe that either your colleague Mr Teare (Treasury) or another Minister has said in the context of welfare reform that what we effectively need to look at now is the biggest shake-up of the Social Security system since it was set up in the 1940s.

The premise, probably well founded, being that it needs to take account of the very great changes in health, welfare and life expectancy that have occurred over the past 60 years.

I would respectfully suggest that if such change is both necessary and radical then a wider consultation than several public meetings should be considered.

I appreciate that commissioned surveys can be costly (I have no knowledge after all this time what the Gallup ‘The Quality of Life in the Isle of Man’ cost). However the Gallup survey was a very complex affair that looked at a broad range of factors which contributed to quality of life.

An island wide survey of Social Security and Welfare Reform could be much more focused in its agenda and therefore be much less expensive. Specific scenarios could be posed and most importantly, if informed by cogent facts, some indication could be obtained from the public as to how much they are prepared to contribute in the future to maintain good welfare provision.

In terms of good welfare in Western Europe the Scandinavian countries are often cited as the best case. Indeed only quite recently the President of Iceland said “said despite the problems of recent years Iceland still maintains one of the world’s best welfare systems.” However, I think you will find that the welfare provision in the Nordic States was determined after a very full consultation with the population who determined it was a priority they were prepared to fund.

To that end I trust you (and your COMIN colleagues) will give consideration to a more thorough (albeit focused) Island wide survey of the public on this issue of critical public concern.

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League”

Related link at Manx Radio web site:


J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)


The Celtic League 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

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