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Teare criticised for reducing some benefits

Benefit rates for the coming year have come under attack from North Douglas MHK Bill Henderson.

Health and Social Security Minister Eddie Teare told Tynwald that certain benefits were being increased by 6.5%, which is well above the Island's inflation rate of 1%.

But Mr Henderson suggested there were some mischievous goings on.

While he acknowledged that uprating some of the benefits to last year's rate of inflation was excellent, he pointed out that nearly half of them were staying at the same level, and in some cases they were being reduced.

He used the paternity allowance, which is going from a maximum of £187 to £172, as an example.

Mr Henderson said this payment was vital to some families and he would rather have seen the rate frozen than than people getting less.

He said he understood the difficulties faced by Mr Teare, but called for "priority spending directives" to departments from the Council of Ministers to to put a stop to what he called "imperialism".

Mr Henderson said the DHSS should be given priority in these extraordinary times.

Mr Teare said it would have been easy to abandon increases altogether in the current climate, and he believed the announced increases represented a glass that was more than half full.

He explained the reduction in paternity payment was to bring it more in line with the maternity and adoption allowances.

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