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Overwhelming support for Manx budget

The 2011 Isle of Man budget has been supported by all but one of the 33 members of Tynwald.

Just after 5pm, after a little over four hours of debate, the House of Keys voted 23-1 in favour of Anne Craine's first package as minister for the Treasury.

Onchan MHK Peter Karran, an outspoken critic of government policy, was the sole dissenting voice.

In the Legislative Council the vote was 9-0.

Earlier the budget was given a cautious welcome by union represenatives and members of the Isle of Man's business community during Manx Radio's Baker Tilly Budget Special.

Angela Moffatt from the Prospect union said it was 'a two-pronged budget', which maintained and developed the economy while, at the same time, tightening belts in the public sector. She said she wanted unions to have as good a relationship with government as the business community enjoyed (first part of audio file):

Chief executive of Age Concern George Quayle applauded the inflationary increase on pensions, but said there would be tough times ahead for people on fixed incomes (second part of audio file):

Chief Minister Tony Brown was asked how the budget had apparently gone so smoothly in the face of such financial pressures. He said a great many components came together to create the final package and spoke of the importance of focusing on the positive, rather than negative, elements. They included the way the public and private sectors worked together.

Mr Brown stressed the importance of safeguarding public sector jobs, and dismissed as 'a rumour' a suggested 20 per cent reduction in government employees after the general election (third part of audio file):

Ian Hodgson from Barclays said, from a lending perspective, it was essential people had confidence in the economy (fourth part of audio file):

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