October has presented some interesting challenges and new experiences.
Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
A considerable amount of time has been spent this month in DHSC, going back to basics. We have looked at the cost of provision and tried to place a level of importance on various aspects of the Department delivery plans.
The review of the Prescription Charge Consultation is also starting to be assessed in detail. Updates on these changes like will be announced shortly.
Economic Policy Review Committee
Next month, the Economic Policy Review Committee’s publication of the Vision 9 Report will be laid before Tynwald. Valuable time has been spent in recent months carefully reviewing the evidence and refining the report.
It is incredible to think that this investigation has taken 12 months. One of the most interesting aspects of the investigation has been separating the Department of Economic Developments role in the process from the TT event itself and the emotion which goes with that. It will certainly be interesting to see the response to our findings, and recommendations.
In October Tynwald had the cameras rolling, it was an interesting experience. I was able to ask a number of questions.
The first oral question was directed at the Treasury Minister. I was aiming to get more information, about the decision to continue using the now defunct UK pound coin. After a little prodding, it emerged that this was the first time this has happened; hopefully this will not create counterfeiting issues or unnecessary issues for local businesses.
The second question was about teacher’s pay. Several former colleagues have raised the issues related to the increased cost of living not being reflected in their pay packets. While teachers in the South East of England get a regional weighted addition; teachers in the Channel Islands are now paid an average of 10% more than those who teach the same thing on the Isle of Man.
I have put these videos and some related articles on my Facebook page.
House of Keys
I have also asked several questions in the House and spoken on the Statement, regarding the Castletown Housing Review. It is a movement in the right direction, but perhaps lacks the imagination some of us had hoped for.
It is certainly worth looking at the Report:
Questions have also been raised regarding: home education, squirrel pox, emergency school closures and animal welfare.
One of the most interesting elements of the Key’s sittings, was putting forward a Motion on the times of sittings. My suggestion was that Keys would sit in October, before the Tynwald sitting. It did not succeed, but the review will now take place in Committee, so my ideas might be incorporated into the final decision.
And finally …
Each month I like to finish on a positive note. This month I have been able to visit some incredible people and been part of some very important meetings.
One highlight was attending The Castletown Chamber of Commerce Meeting. I have been there before, but this month I could really sense the momentum of change. The meeting was constructive and the youthful energy which filled the room was incredibly invigorating!