I am a candidate for the Constituency of Garff in the forthcoming General Election. I have always taken a keen and active interest in local and national issues, some of which cause me much concern. In this Manifesto I shall touch upon some of these concerns and state my policies relevant to them. Obviously due to the restrictions of a Manifesto I shall not be able to refer to or fully expand upon all matters of concern and interest to me.
Planning to ensure that our and future generations needs are properly met requires consideration and balance of many factors, such as appropriate land designation and use, infrastructure and environmental protection. I am not confident that Government is addressing these matters properly. The lack of progress of the Laxey and Lonan Local Plan underlines such concerns. Government must continue to be responsible for the production of all Island and Local Plans after meaningful discussion and consultation with the public and local authorities. Such Plans must be subject to review with definitive review dates which should not be delayed. Such Plans should provide overall planning and development criteria whilst giving flexibility to properly consider each individual planning application. The opinion of local authorities should be given higher priority as they are in a better position than Central Government to appreciate the impact of planning within their own locale.
I am concerned about the lack of opportunity, especially for our young people, to purchase homes in their chosen areas. There is no one single solution to the problem. Availability and cost must be addressed whilst balancing other relevant matters such as protection of the environment, which makes our area so attractive. The financial assistance available to first time buyers must be re-assessed to ensure, whether by Government alone or by joint venture between Government and financial institutions, that realistic financial assistance is available for affordable housing.
Development does not necessarily always require use of greenfield sites, suitable brown field sites whether in public or private ownership ought to be identified and considered. Any new office or shop development ought, where practical, to include living accommodation. Any future estate development ought to require the developer to include a meaningful proportion of first time buyer units at affordable prices. Mere lip service by the developer will not suffice. Appropriate planning conditions must be imposed and enforced. I also feel that developers should contribute to such matters as for example improvements to our roads and infrastructure, which become necessary as a consequence of their development.
I consider there is also a need to positively review public sector and sheltered housing requirements and availability in the short, medium and long term.
I am concerned about the continual release of untreated sewage into the coastal waters of Garff with its resultant adverse effect on our beaches and our and our visitors enjoyment of them. Such discharges cannot be permitted to continue for years awaiting the implementation of the IRIS Scheme especially as it appears that the area of Garff is to be one of the last to benefit.
I am personally extremely disappointed that work has now commenced on the construction of the mass burn incinerator. We are faced with a fait accomplit, which I am reluctant to accept. I feel that if Government had been responsible enough to enforce a well structured workable recycling system in the past we would not now be forced into this very expensive needless option. We are now faced with the important decision of identifying disposal site(s) for incinerator fly and bottom ash. Where will the resultant ash go?
Our environment affects our way of life. At the Rio conference nine years ago Government declined to commit itself to bio-diversity, which is the principle of reversing the decline of wild life habitats and promoting the recovery of threatened species. Just one lost opportunity. A healthy and protected environment is vital to our Islandís future and affects us in many ways.
I am concerned that we are not as vigilant as we ought to be regarding situations such as Sellafield.
I accept the important contribution to the Island of the finance sector and will support any reasonable legislation, scheme or proposal which will ensure its continued contribution. I am concerned however, that there is too much reliance upon the finance sector and consider it important to ensure our future economic stability by pursuing sustainable economic diversity by supporting and encouraging areas such as:
Agriculture which has recently faced considerable problems such as the consequential effects of the BSE and foot and mouth crisis. In real terms, whilst in other sectors income has increased incomes to farmers has decreased. Farmers and other food producers also have to compete with multi nationals which produce less expensive food of inferior quality and dubious origins. Farmers are the custodians of our countryside, we must continue to support them, not necessarily only in financial ways.
Light Industry ó In Garff, as in other parts of the Island, we have light industry which makes a material contribution to our economy. We have a well educated and skilled workforce. I support any reasonable legislation, scheme or proposal to assist in the expansion of such workforce and our light industry.
Tourism is another sector which contributes to our economy. Government must seek to fully explore what the Island can offer by way of niche holidays for group and individual activities such as golfing, fishing, walking sub aqua pursuits and organised annual or periodic events like yacht racing, motor sport, vintage cars/transport. If we protect the countryside, our marine life and the environment, I am confident that we can attract eco tourism. By concentrating on such niche markets we can ensure expansion of our tourism sector and its material contribution to the Islandís economy.
Of course, the tourist industry , business and indeed us all would be greatly assisted if travel costs to and from the Island were considerably reduced. I consider that effective competition, for example by way of an open sky policy, is a realistic and achievable target.
The importance of education cannot be underestimated. I am concerned that insufficient attention has been paid in the past to proper forward planning, for example the consequence of any new estate development upon existing school(s). The education system must meet the Islandís needs. Within Garff and elsewhere we must ensure that future education requirements are properly addressed by considering problems beforehand and not retrospectively. We must ensure that we have a proper teacher/student ratio and that we continue to attract teachers of high caliber by offering them competitive terms and conditions.
The Islandís health care must be continually monitored. Some people are very satisfied with the care they receive whilst others are not. One of the matters of concern which has been raised is the length of waiting lists for certain operations whilst beds remain empty. Another concern which has been voiced is whether the Island is receiving value for money, particularly from its Consultants. I consider that there should be more openness and accountability. For example in certain countries success or failure of surgery and treatment data is readily available. I also feel that we need to ensure that staffing levels, most importantly medical staff ratio to patients, is acceptable.
I consider that the future well-being of the Island and the preservation of the quality of life of its inhabitants must include appropriate restriction on persons who wish to become resident. The Residence Act which has been passed by Tynwald has not yet been brought into effect. I will support the early introduction of this Act.
Public Transport and Traffic
I am concerned that Government has failed to properly address continuing and growing traffic management problems. We have public sector transport which is owned and controlled by Government, in our constituency we have both road and rail public transport. I am confident that with proper investment in personnel, rolling stock, vehicles and time tabling, public transport could be improved to meet the requirements and needs of Garff and the Island, thereby providing corresponding reduction in traffic particularly at peak periods.
Traffic management would be considerably assisted by the control and enforcement of speed and parking restrictions, and the implementation of properly considered traffic calming measures.
Road and Roadside Maintenance.
There ought to be an overall road repair and improvement scheme for Garff which would ensure that road repair, maintenance and improvements are carried out at appropriate times, not piecemeal or reactive, with the least disruption to road users, and pedestrians whilst causing the least detriment to local facilities, the local economy, residence and visitors. Roadside tree and shrub trimming is important for safety reasons and must be undertaken at appropriate times with active involvement and consultation with local authorities.
I am not in favour of local authorities being forced to amalgamate. Nor am I in favour of introducing yet one further layer of Government adding bureaucracy and expense. Local authorities should be given more power with increased support from Central Government and the Civil Service.
The Island presently enjoys a constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom which is the result of many years of negotiation. I consider that further constitutional progress can be made as and when the opportunity presents itself. The relationship which the Island has with the United Kingdom appears to be advantageous for the Island, for example when traveling abroad we have the comfort of British Embassies to protect us, Britain will also defend us in times of conflict and by way of further example Government has recently been able to take advantage of the United Kingdomís arrangements to counteract the withdrawal of war risk insurance for aircraft thus ensuring our continued daily air services. Whilst
valuing our relationship with the United Kingdom I feel that we must also be vigilant in protecting out interests, economy and future well-being.
I perceive a need to closely monitor and control Government spending on schemes such as the Incinerator and the refurbishment of the old Legislature Buildings. Also the general principle of engaging firms of consultants at vast expense when our own insular resources could provide similar expertise but with more insular appreciation at less expense.
I have lived in Garff for nearly all my life. . My formative years were spent on a small farm at Ballaragh. When first married, my husband and I spent three years in the United Kingdom returning to the Island to set up home at Agneash where our two children were born. We now reside in Laxey and consider ourselves fortunate indeed to live in such a beautiful area as Garff. For the past thirteen years I have worked part time for the Salvation Army Nursery in Laxey. I include amongst my many and varied interests, involvement with the Red Cross, the Manx Deaf Society, the Manx Wildlife Trust, and I am President of the local branch of the Muscular Dystrophy Society. I have been a member of Laxey Village Commissioners for nine years during which time I have worked hard and conscientiously. If fortunate enough to be elected to represent the Constituency of Garff I shall work hard and conscientiously for my constituents.
The Isle of Man needs to sustain economic stability without adversely effecting our environment or social structure. I would urge Government to spend its income on such things as, education, health, infrastructure, transport, farming, industry, recycling, and protecting our precious environment.
Government must spend wisely.
Thank you for taking the time to
read my Manifesto.
Published by Marianne Kerruish
Printed from the IoM Elections Website. www.iomelections.com
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT 1995