Since 1985 it has been my privilege to serve as your "full time" MHK. You are all aware that I am not afraid of hard work on behalf of you, South Douglas or the Isle of Man via my role over the past 5 years as Minister for Tourism and Leisure.
I try to keep everyone informed of issues in which I am involved through my Newsletter, 19 of which have been published since 1985, and will continue to be if I am re-elected.
Because of my busy workload a 24 hour answer phone service on 626765 is available. I always return all calls left. This is supplemented by a mobile telephone: 453011 and a fax: 617234.
You will know that whenever possible I make myself available to help anyone at anytime and adopt an open, honest, commonsense approach to my work.
To those of you I have met again whilst calling at your homes, thank you very much for your warm welcome and words of kindness... not to mention the many cups of teal
It is for Government to create the correct conditions for business to prosper, Stability and a co-operative approach between the various sectors of the economy and government departments is essential to on-going success.
I have adopted this philosophy in practice during the past five years.
The development of the Isle of Man as an international business centre has led to a much-increased profile. Government has taken any opportunity provided to present an accurate analysis of business activities on the Island to counter uninformed comment. We have, for example, a strong anti money laundering position, and our finance sector probity has been illustrated on an international stage by Ministers, the Attorney General and senior government officers. Unfortunately, it appears some larger governments believe different rules should apply to smaller countries than apply to larger ones. This concept has been exposed as being flawed in such forums as the OECD, and must be rejected as being contrary to EU usual policy on discrimination. Prior to September 11 2001 discussion in relation to the US economy, and that of Germany, predicted slow down. Since then we have witnessed first hand some of the consequences of the events that took place in America on that day, and uncertain times lie ahead.
In view of this situation, experience, commonsense and business acumen will be needed more than ever in the years ahead.
EDUCATION - The best opportunities for our young people
We are fortunate to have a first class education system and dedicated staff. I would support a reduction in any unneeded paperwork, and a review as to the factors which appear to be de-motivating some of those charged with the delivery of the service.
Some interesting facts include:
A true demonstration of our caring society
As with the education service, we are fortunate to have so many caring professionals to ensure residents are assured at an often traumatic time.
Government’s duty is to ensure that those with a health services vocation are properly equipped, and that they are not overburdened with non-essential bureaucracy.
AGRICULTURE: NEW DIRECTION?
Following BSE then Foot and Mouth in the UK, a review of agricultural policies seems likely. Farmers are the guardians of our lovely countryside and should be assisted into diversification, environmental improvements and protection of wildlife habitats. In the future, animal welfare, health and safety, quality products and self sustainability will rightly increase in importance.
CONTROL OVER 12 MILE LIMIT
The common fisheries policy is currently under review at EU level. Our industry requires a fair deal starting with more control over our 12 mile limit, and a whitefish quota.
FORESTRY AND GLENS
I welcome the proposed Environmental Panel Forum for liaison and co-operation with non-governmental conservation bodies. Our national glens are precious assets and the two proposed National Park areas, broad leaf planting programme's and Wildflowers of Mann initiatives have my full support.
INDUSTRY - "Snapshot 2001"
A broadly based economy has to be the way forward. Areas of progress
in the current year include:
WE MUST NOT, HOWEVER, BE COMPLACENT. INITIATIVE SHOULD BE DEMONSTRATED AND THE ADVANTAGES OF A SMALL PARLIAMENT TO REACT WITH FLEXIBILITY, AND IN PARTICULAR WITH INDUSTRY, IS PARAMOUNT.
DRUG & ALCOHOL STRATEGY
I strongly support the cross departmental and agency co-operation in relation to this problem. In the latest report -2 years into this approach -the principle strategies seeking to reduce the harm caused by drug or alcohol misuse include:
I pledge myself to support these strategies on your behalf. We do not want to see more young people dying or residents feeling unsafe in their own homes.
Reality at last How good it is to see the new estate developing at long last! Thanks to your support over the years, we encouraged Douglas Corporation to introduce a policy for the estate in the mid 1990s. A JOINT INITIATIVE WAS FOLLOWED, AND THE MOST MAJOR HOUSING REDEVELOPMENT THE ISLAND HAS EVER SEEN WAS COMMENCED. I support a shorter redevelopment timescale.
INCINERATOR AND REFUSE POLICY - on-going vigilance is required
As promised in my 1996 manifesto, I have continued to oppose and vote against this proposal. When invited to become a Minister, I made it clear that I would not accept that role if I could not support my constituents’ concerns. As the only member of Tynwald to oppose the original planning in principal for this site, I continue to be very concerned about its visual intrusion, emission control and monitoring. By virtue of its size, the disincentive to communities to reduce, re-cycle and reuse products may, I fear. see them follow a simple route to the furnace.
BUSES, TRAINS & TRAMS
Since 1996, as Minister for Tourism and Leisure, I have been responsible for buses, trains and trams on the Island. The largest ever track replacement programme on the railways has commenced under my supervision with 17 kms on the Manx Electric Railway, and 3 kms on the Steam Railway having been replaced. This year, the replacement of a further 6 kms on the MER, and 8 kms on the Steam Railway is planned. In the last 5 years we celebrated 125 years of the Steam Railway and 100 years of the Manx Electric Railway - both are key to the future of tourism.
The Department took responsibility for bus shelters in June 1999. No one can fail to have noticed the Island-wide replacement and renewal programme in order to encourage more bus use. We have put in place 58 shelters with many more to come in our forward plans, including a number of new shelters in South Douglas. The largest ever bus replacement programme has seen 49 new buses with 24 of these being low floor, low emission, customer friendly double deck vehicles. The Department have an on-going programme for the replacement of double deck vehicles, as we still have 14 buses from 1986 in our fleet of 82.
More people are choosing to use the buses. The Department accepts that there is a considerable way to go to satisfy customer requirements, which we are determined to meet.
HOUSING - "Consistent effort required at top level"
The present housing problems have not come about in the last six weeks or six months. All over the Island election candidates have recognised what some of us have been saying for a long time. I sincerely hope the impetus created by the election will lead to more action after the votes have been cast.
The position of Minister of Local Government will be key to taking forward progress in this regard. In the past, lack of commitment at top level has led to drift and inaction.
Issues I believe would make a significant impact include:
Sheltered housing projects as part of the redevelopment of Pulrose, bus station and Noble’s Hospital sites would provide a comfortable, more manageable option for some people in family sized local authority accommodation to move to retirement homes in areas in which they have brought up their families. This would make larger houses available for those on the housing list.
A shared equity scheme should be progressed for people whose age mitigates against a "traditional mortgage". and who would like to move from their local authority house into home ownership.
Urban regeneration - to avoid further intrusion into the green fields on the Douglas boundary - would bring more life into Douglas town centre. This should be taken forward with care and consideration towards those people who presently reside or do business in the area being planned for redevelopment.
First time buyers’ homes should not be marketed ‘off the Island’ to speculators. They should be used for the purpose for which they were built, homes for our young people.
Land should be acquired Island-wide to enable young people to remain in the areas they grew up in. This should be undertaken with a sensitive approach so as not to compromise our towns and villages with inappropriate development.
I welcome the 55 first time buyers homes at Harcroft. Much more should be done to assist first and second time purchasers currently ‘priced out’ of the market, My concerns, shared by adjacent residents, relate to access and egress to the estate. I would not favour further numbers of properties being developed on the site and have made representation to this effect.
THIS GOVERNMENT HAS PROVIDED FUNDS FOR THE LARGEST EVER PROGRAMME OF DEMOLITION AND REBUILD OF A HOUSING ESTATE. Lower Pulrose in South Douglas is a scheme in excess of £20 million. The original timescale of the works has been agreed by Government - who are funding the scheme - to be reduced to 7 years or less.
As well as the use of low maintenance products in housing. I would like to see more emphasis directed to energy conservation.
VILLA MARINA - redevelopment commenced!
After years of discussion I obtained Tynwald support to rebuild the Colonnade and now work has started on the Villa Marina. The lovely Royal Hall and gardens will be retained whilst we equip the rest of the building for a sparkling future for leisure and arts
users. The scheme will be centrally funded by all Island taxpayers, thus relieving Douglas rate payers of a significant annual rate burden in excess of £350,000.
Traffic Speed Pedestrian
Many residents have expressed concerns regarding traffic speed in residential areas. The present ‘traffic calming’ measures are not achieving their objective, and a review should be undertaken of their effectiveness. Speed cameras could be one option for improvement.
I remain committed to the provision of safe footpath facilities on Saddle Road and Vicarage Road amongst other places. The Department of Transport have funding ready to commence the footpath on Saddle Road. Inconsiderate parking of some vans and cars has recently caused concern.
I have worked alongside residents in the Manor Park area to try and get the drainage authorities to improve the situation where the drainage capacity is not meeting the demand. I pledge to see this through with those I represent.
On the Cooil estate, Vicarage Park and elsewhere the footpaths require attention and the unfinished nature of some roads and pavements in Ashbourne Park and Saddlestone have been drawn to my affection. I will make representations to try and obtain improvements as soon as possible.
The linking footpaths in estates are a useful facility, but youngsters need to be made more aware that they lead on to busy main estate roads. Some unthoughtful dog owners and poor lighting are other issues of concern.
In Anagh Coar, adjacent to the shops, and through the centre of the estate, the foot path is uneven in places and I have sought improvements. It is good to see some action now taking place for pedestrian safety.
I have worked alongside residents in opposing the Department of Transport’s ‘over the top’ plans for Vicarage Road, seeking instead a more modest scheme with pedestrian facilities, and without being detrimental to the environment - my support will continue.
RESIDENCE BILL - Management of Population
I took the Residence Bill through the House of Keys and believe this is an important mechanism for assisting the development of the economy. Regulations are currently being prepared to enable the legislation to take effect. I do not subscribe to the view that the Act should simply be left on the shelf until we have a population crisis.
We need new skills and other talents, but we also need to balance that with the demands on the infrastructure and social division that can be caused as a result of no management of population growth.
WORKING TO PROMOTE TOURISM
AS Minister of Tourism and Leisure for the past 5 years I have welcomed a number of developments and proposed developments. I formed a close working partnership with the industry
which has worked very well over the years. I am delighted to have played a major part over the past 15 years in bringing the National Sports Centre to fruition. Now completed it represents £20 million of investment in South Douglas.
An extension to the runway at Ronaldsway Airport is being promoted.
More investment in rail infrastructure than ever before has taken place under my direction.
Following my Department’s initiative all senior citizens now enjoy free travel on the steam and electric railways as well as on the buses.
Design work on the Port St. Mary marina will commence in the next 12 months.
The cafe at the Sound is being rebuilt in a more sensitive location in the hillside, and will be a real asset for locals and visitors.
The Rushen Abbey presentation by Manx National Heritage and the House of Manannan at Peel have received awards.
The Camera Obscura and land on the Douglas Head is at last to be refurbished and properly cared for.
Whilst the Wildlife Park was closed this year, next year will see a new "hands on" Children’s Farm and enhanced miniature railway facilities.
We promoted top acts over the 5 years at our various venues from latest bands such as Cast, Reef, Republica and the Fun Loving Criminals to legends such as Van
Morrison and the BBC Philharmonic, and everything in between. Much more can be achieved in bringing top class entertainment to our local audience and for visitors.
I opened a lift for disabled users of the U Grandstand, the first phase of improvements in this area.
Regional synthetic pitches have been provided at 3 secondary schools.
We still need more grass pitches for sport in the Douglas, Braddan and Onchan area. This would be a more appropriate use for Ballafletcher than the prison.
A dance floor has been introduced for ballroom dancers at Summerland whilst works take place at the Villa Marina.
We promoted the international TT Races, world rounds of motorcycle trials events with another due next year, the NatWest Island Games and hundreds of other events.
I would once again like to place on record my thanks to all the volunteers who have worked with my Department to ensure these events can take place.
I am pleased Government has provided greater support for Manx culture, language, music and dance.
My Department have been discussing future uses for the Summerland site once the Villa Marina is completed. It is envisaged that a U Museum Experience will feature as part of these proposals.
SOCIAL ISSUES - A Fair Society
More improvements have taken place in the last 15 years than have occurred in the previous 100. Proposals for future action include:
LAW AND ORDER - Prompting peace of mind
YOU WANT TO SEE EVEN MORE COMMUNITY POLICING - SO DO I.
The Sex Offenders’ Register is now in place and electronic tagging is a further option for the courts.
I have pressed the case for a Police Station to be created in a property in Anagh Coar which could also serve adjacent estates.
A new town centre Police Station is currently under construction in Lord Street near the bus station site.
Protection from harassment and exclusion of non-resident offenders laws are amongst a raft of new measures now available.
After my representations CCTV has been installed at Anagh Coar School following a number of vandalism incidents.
Rehabilitation of Offenders laws now exist for some offences.
I continue to support properly supervised community service works for some, as an alternative to locking offenders up 24 hours a day.
The Drug and Alcohol Strategy is key to cuffing crime.
Unfortunately, with more juvenile crimes clearly apparent, parents must accept more responsibility for the behaviour of their youngsters.
GOVERNMENT INCOME AND RESERVES
"Due to hard work and forward planning over a considerable period, we have been fortunate in the last 5 years to witness unprecedented growth in Government income, whilst investing in our people and the future."
In the current financial year national income has increased by 13.7%. The highest economic growth for 13 years.
In 1996 the National Insurance Fund stood at £241 million. Currently, after investment for the new hospital, it stands at £384 million.
The market value of the Government Reserve Fund is £239 million.
Last year the Isle of Man deposit base, as reported by the Financial Supervision Commission, grew by 11.5% to £25.82 billion. Treasury has announced a progressive reduction in income fax to ensure our ongoing place at the forefront of competitive economies in the years ahead.
DUE TO EXTERNAL FACTORS THE 5 YEARS AHEAD WILL REQUIRE EXPERIENCE AND FORESIGHT FROM THE INCOMING GOVERNMENT.
WE MUST NOT BE DETERRED FROM PROGRESS.
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES - Our children’s inheritance
As stated in my 1996 manifesto, we are fortunate to live on a lovely Island. It is the duty of us all to take great care to maintain all that is good in terms of our natural and built environment, and to seek to improve upon current practices where needed. Since then, a number of initiatives have been progressed including:
POLICIES FOR RETIRED CITIZENS
As the person who first promoted moves in Tynwald towards a ‘Manx Supplement’, it is good to note that those in receipt of the full supplement now as a single pensioner receive £108.75 compared with £70.50 in 1996/97 and for a couple £173.85 compared with £112.70 in 1996/97,
State pensions spending in 2001-02 is £80 million - an increase of 17%.
Retired residents now travel free on railways as well as buses following my Department’s initiative this year, Free N licences have been introduced for all over 75 years.
Domestic smoke detectors will be fitted free by the Fire Service in the homes of persons above retirement age. So far 1131 applications have been processed.
Elsewhere in my manifesto I pledge my full support towards more sheltered housing - a key issue in resolving the present housing crisis.
With moves in the devolved Scottish Parliament and elsewhere to completely eliminate the use of a person’s home in the calculation for care in old age payments, I advocate an early inquiry into the introduction of a similar scheme on the Island to avoid the present unfairness.
Increased financial support from the DHSS enabled the ‘Meals on Wheels’ service to expand to a 7 day per week service. Last year they delivered 58,000 meals.
YOU ARE ASSURED OF MY ON-GOING SUPPORT!
DOUGLAS CORPORATION HOUSES
As residents will be aware, I always return my calls and try to help people with their problems - even though the primary responsibility is with Councilors.
I have written to Douglas Corporation over a number of years to seek the inclusion of a proper phased window replacement programme at Anagh Coar, Lord Street and Quines Corner.
After the 1996 Election I contacted the Corporation again about the lack of central heating in Spring Valley and parts of Anagh Coar.
Key to the problems with housing is the fact that some years ago the Corporation made the wrong decision to cease to employ a number of tradesmen. An improvement recently is the new Housing Officer, but a formidable task lies ahead.
There is no restriction other than normal priorities in terms of support for Douglas Corporation housing schemes from Government. No money has been diverted from housing to the incinerator. 5 years ago the Department of Local Government and the Environment made available £11 million over a 5 year period to Douglas Corporation housing schemes. Last year the figure was £18 million — a substantial increase. In the same period the share of local authorities capital estimates rose from 24% to 37% in terms of the share allocated to Douglas Corporation.
There are on-going concerns expressed to me about housing transfer policies, the length of time properties are empty and maintenance failures which, in the longer term, will cost more money.
Heather and Hazel Crescent refurbishment is taking far too long to complete.
As always, despite my national commitments, I will continue to support residents in any way I can.
In partnership with the Police, marshals, medical volunteers and others, I organised a "Lap of Honour" in August 2000 in recognition of 26 times TT winner Joey Dunlop. Over 6,000 motorcyclists took part and thousands more people lined the course.
PLEASE USE YOUR VOTE!
You can use either 1 or 2 crosses as there are 2 people to be elected.
EVERY VOTE IS VITAL!
FOR TRANSPORT TO THE POLLING STATION OR IF YOU CAN HELP ON THE DAY
Published by David Cretney
Printed via the IOM Elections Website. www.iomelections.com
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT 1995