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May Tynwald starts today


Tynwald sits today, with plenty on the agenda, although there will be no vote on giving departments extra money.

This morning will see 17 questions for spoken answer and another 11 for written reply, on topics such as financial regulations, pensions and rents for shop units.

During the sitting, politicians will also debate changes to work permits, annual reviews of the financial supervision commission and means-testing extra benefits for pensioners.

But plans to ask the court to spend more than £14.5 million on additional payments to departments have been postponed.

Before the item was withdrawn from the order paper, South Douglas MHK Kate Beecroft says she was surprised to see a request for monies to purchase the Middlemarch site among other government projects seeking funding.

The money would have been used to pay for things such as housing improvements, upgrades to the Island’s railways and projects at the airport and Douglas harbour.

Treasury says the spending vote is largely a book-balancing exercise, required because projects have been completed earlier than originally estimated, and in most cases does not mean budgets have been exceeded.

But Department of Infrastructure plans to spend almost £10 million buying the Middlemarch site and Finch Hill House in Douglas have had to be put on hold as Tynwald waits for a legal opinion on the £3.2 million Middlemarch deal.

The court will also be asked to vote on who should receive this year’s Tynwald Honour, with World War Two veteran Hector Duff in line for the award.

You can hear live coverage of this month’s sitting on Manx Radio’s AM1368 frequency, and at manxradio.com, from 10.30 this morning.


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