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Treasury Minister supports 'agenda for change'

Friday, 3 February 2012

Treasury Minister Eddie Teare MHK is backing what he calls ‘the agenda for historic change’ set out by the Chief Minister in his recent message to the people of the Island.

Mr Teare said Allan Bell’s statement had laid out ‘the direction of travel’ for his administration, opening up the prospect of the most significant changes in the Manx Government since the introduction of the Ministerial system over 30 years ago.

The Chief Minister’s message included confirmation of reviews of the scope of Government, universal benefits, and the planning system. It also set a target of a 10% reduction in Government’s £300m salary bill within the next three to four years.

Mr Teare commented:

‘The Chief Minister has set the direction of travel for his Government and when you look at his statement it is really an agenda for historic change, certainly the most radical since the Ministerial system came in during the mid-1980s. Doing nothing is not an option. If our children, grandchildren and future generations are to live in a prosperous and caring society the Island has to make its Government smaller and its economy bigger. That means a leaner, fitter Government with a business friendly approach across the board and a can-do attitude to economic opportunities.'

He added:

‘However, the process of adjusting to the new financial reality takes time and a quick solution is not possible. The Government is also aware that a drastic slash and burn approach to cutting public spending could damage the local economy. The forthcoming Manx Budget should therefore be seen not in isolation but as a work in progress. It should be viewed in the context of the steps that have already been taken towards budget rebalancing and the further changes that might be expected over the next three or four years. It is important to look at the whole picture, not just one part of it, and I agree that the approach overall has to be fair in examining all areas of Government spending and operations in due course – there can be no sacred cows in this exercise. Clearly I cannot comment on the specifics of the 2012 Budget at this stage. But I can confirm that Departments have had some difficult choices to make to meet the targets that are necessary if we are going to put the Island’s public finances back on an even keel.’

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