Economic Development Minister John Shimmin MHK and Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw MHK met key members of the Liberal Democrat Party this week when they attended the Party’s Autumn Conference.
Their presence at the event in Brighton was part of the Isle of Man Government’s ongoing programme of engagement to promote awareness and understanding of the Island within the UK’s main political parties. The Ministers took the opportunity to highlight the Island’s reputation as a well regulated international business centre and its role in supporting economic recovery in the UK.
They also held a series of informal discussions with ministers, peers and senior policy advisors, and attended meetings on a range of issues including the economy, the need for improved skills training, social care reform, and the future of welfare. Among those hosting events and delivering speeches at the Brighton Conference were Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes MP.
Ministers Shimmin and Robertshaw also attended the keynote address by Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP who spoke to party members about their important contributions to the UK Coalition Government.
Minister Shimmin said:
‘The LibDem Party Conference provided an opportunity to strengthen relations with some of the UK’s leading politicians and raise awareness of the Isle of Man’s positive contribution to the British, and indeed, global economy. We listened to an important discussion on how to stimulate business investment and the importance of improved training for vital workers such as engineers, in which Vince Cable admitted there are no easy solutions to the growth challenge. Overall we received a very positive response and made a number of worthwhile political and business contacts.’
Minister Robertshaw added:
‘As my Department continues to assess the feedback to the national debate on social policy, it was particularly timely to gain an insight into LibDem proposals on social and welfare reform. The Isle of Man and UK are facing many common challenges, so it was extremely valuable to hear from those at the sharp end of policy development. On a broader level, it is important to represent the Island’s interests at the main party conferences to ensure our messages are being heard by the right people.’