Highlighting the growth of our diverse economy and meeting the financial challenges facing both the Government and Island citizens were the key themes when Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK delivered the 2018 Budget in Tynwald today, Tuesday 20 February 2018.
Mr Cannan set out a raft of new measures to re-energise investment in the Manx economy, refocus welfare support and redefine capital spending.
Increased funding for frontline public services and a further increase in the personal income tax allowance were announced against a positive backdrop of better than expected budgetary performance in 2017-18 and a record number of people in employment.
The 2018 Budget aims to build on this economic confidence to support working families, improve the circumstances of those on low incomes, help our thriving businesses to continue to grow, invest in our vital infrastructure and manage public finances to ensure a sustainable future.
Action is also being taken to achieve a further reduction in Government’s reliance on funding from reserves.
The Minister revealed that the Isle of Man Government’s accounts are projecting a surplus of £18.2 million for 2017-18 after the £9.5 million supplementary vote for the Department of Health and Social Care. This represents an increase of more than £15 million on the budgeted amount.
In addition to higher than expected income tax receipts, spending on welfare support has been £7 million lower than anticipated as a result of business growth and focused policies aimed at getting people into employment.
This forecast has enabled the Treasury Minister to allocate £13.8 million of additional spending on essential public services, including £5.5 million on health and social care, £3.1 million on infrastructure and £1.5 million on pre-school support.
Mr Cannan also announced a £428 million programme of capital funding over the next five years to strengthen the Isle of Man’s reputation as a special place to live and work. This includes investment in our young people through new school facilities and supporting the health and wellbeing of the nation by refurbishing the National Sports Centre swimming pool and promoting Active Travel.
National glens and footpaths will be improved to reflect the Isle of Man’s status as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, additional funding will help to maintain our roads and Treasury will continue to support digital innovation to boost efficiency and make it quicker and easier for people to deal with Government.
Mr Cannan said:
‘This is a Budget of Substance for an Island of Substance. We are investing in the Isle of Man’s future with confidence by pursuing progressive, affordable and sustainable policies to help all sectors of the community. A responsible approach to public finances is still an absolute priority, but we are also working hard to put more money in people’s pockets and to improve their personal circumstances.’
‘The 2018 Budget will lift another 1,700 people out of the tax net and increase child benefit payments by a further 3.3%. An additional £1.5 million is being provided for pre-school credits to help working families and we are raising the basic state pension and other supporting welfare payments by 3%. This is all part of a focused package of support to ensure that everyone can share in the Island’s success.’