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Capital programme sets firm base for Island Plan

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

A five-year capital programme set at £485.3 million will provide a firm base for Isle of Man Government departments to fulfil the aims of Our Island Plan.

The Budget for the forthcoming financial year involves a capital spending commitment of £174 million.

Investment will be channelled into a range of schemes which are categorised within the Pink Book against each of the core themes:

  • Building great communities
  • An Island of health and wellbeing
  • A strong and diverse economy
  • An environment we can be proud of
  • Outstanding lifelong learning and development opportunities for all

Among them are projects to improve the Island’s main passenger ports, its systems and visitor experience.

Schemes aimed at enhancing passenger facilities at the Sea Terminal and catering for international arrivals at Isle of Man Airport will receive £3m over the next two years. Security is addressed through the development of a passports and immigration system, enabling a multi-agency approach to passenger data.

Protection for the Island’s community will be improved through a £1m investment in a purpose-built Sexual Assault Referral Centre. The scheme will be led by the Department of Home Affairs and supported through a revenue funding commitment to ensure recurring costs can be covered.

Emergency services will receive further investment through a firefighting water storage unit in Jurby and the vehicle and equipment replacement programmes for both the Isle of Man Constabulary and Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service.

Climate change and environmental protection will see significant capital investment – £9m is allocated to focussing on measures to support climate change adaptations and the aim of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while a further £5m is available to mitigate the impact of environmental damage.

Minister Ashford said:

‘In preparing this budget, I have been mindful that we must continue to invest in our Island’s future. We must find ways to afford to invest in new services and infrastructure to maintain and improve the quality of life here on our Island that we all value so much.’

Analysis to pave way for changes to capital process

Minister Ashford announced an overhaul of the way the capital programme is established and funded, aimed at streamlining and modernising this element of the Budget process.

This will be achieved during a period of transition which will be used to assess how the Government’s property assets are used and maintained, and how the accounting process behind it can be simplified.

Minister Ashford said:

‘Work to deliver a Strategic Infrastructure Needs Analysis (SINA) is ongoing and, while it has not been completed in time for this budget, it is planned to inform a new long-term capital programme that will be brought forward as part of the 2023/24 Budget.’

While still being developed, the SINA is already sharpening the Treasury’s focus on capital investment. Its aim is to examine all Isle of Man Government assets – land and property essentially, including vital infrastructure such as harbours and sea defences – and identify an effective maintenance programme.

Once completed, the project will allow a full understanding of Government’s asset management commitments over the next 10 to 20 years and enable improved forecasting and financial planning.

The immediate impact of the SINA can be seen in this year’s Budget through the removal of most ‘future years’ schemes and those that have not yet commenced. They will be picked up separately and will only appear in the Budget when they require funding.

The SINA is due to be completed this year and represents a valuable opportunity to fully review the capital programme to ensure it meets the identified Government priorities and strategic needs, but is also affordable within Government resources.

In this year’s Budget, the Treasury has been allocated £200k for 2022-23 and then a recurring sum of £100k to finance a comprehensive programme of surveys of Government buildings, which will inform the SINA.

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