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Chief Minister flags changes to the top of Government

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A radical restructuring of the Council of Ministers system was signalled by Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK today when he presented his annual progress and priorities statement to the October sitting of Tynwald.

Mr Bell told Members that he would propose the changes, affecting his own Office as well as the Council of Ministers, before the end of the year. 

‘We must have more robust means for developing policies and driving through change if we are to deal effectively with the critical issues our Island faces,’ he declared. 

‘Government can no longer work in departmental silos. We will be reviewing the budget setting process, which I believe needs improvement for the future. We must put the needs of our citizens above the outdated structures of Government to deliver the right outcomes.’ 

The Chief Minister reported good news on the development of the Island’s economy and international reputation, and progress in making Government more efficient. But he warned of major challenges beyond the rebalancing of the budget in 2015/16 – particularly the pressures of an ageing population on public services such as health and social care. 

Mr Bell concluded, however, by expressing confidence in the future of the Isle of Man: 

‘I strongly believe, especially based on our past achievements, that working together constructively with business and the wider community we can protect and develop still further a strong, fair, inclusive and tolerant Island with a sustainable and stable economy.

This will deliver a truly prosperous and caring society into the future - the future our Nation deserves.’

Other highlights from the Chief Minister’s statement include:


  • Chamber of Commerce assisting with Scope of Government review of public services with a combined value of around £164m.
  • Chief Minister backs merger of Manx Electricity Authority and Water and Sewerage Authority, noting that MEA debt continues to mount and warning against above-inflation tariff increases.
  • Government going ahead with the creation of a Public Services Commission to streamline negotiating machinery for Civil Service Commission and Whitley Council staff.
  • Reform of waste collection and disposal to improve efficiency and service standards.
  • Sustainability of the Government Unified Pensions Scheme to be revisited.


  • Island’s national income per head is in the world’s top ten, and for the first time our economy is the largest of the three Crown Dependencies. Current growth rate estimated at 3 to 4%.
  • Growing business connections with China and the Middle East. Chief Minister to lead trade delegation to China early next year.
  • International reputation transformed. David Cameron has now written to the Chief Minister looking forward to ‘continued positive engagement with the Isle of Man.’
  • Government to back creation of specialist IT training facility.
  • New engineering training programme due to double in capacity next year.
  • 1,200 new jobs created in the past year. More people in employment than ever before, over 49,000.
  • Economic Development has made 52 offers of financial assistance totalling £3.7m, 21 to new businesses.

Longer-term challenges

  • Ageing population. The 65+ population expected to grow by 75% in the next 20 years, compared to an overall population increase of 16%. Health care costs for the over 80s to double from £25m to £50m.
  • Current model for providing health care, social services and pensions ‘is not sustainable.’ 
  • Climate change. An Environment and Climate Change Bill will identify a plan to meet target of 80% reduction in emissions.

A copy of the Statement to Tynwald is available in the downloadable document.

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