A way to cut number of MHKs and save money

Tynwald has accepted the Boundary Review Committee’s recommendation that the island should be divided into 12 two-seat constituencies, each with an average population of 7,041.

I know that turkeys wouldn’t vote for Christmas, but surely, at a time when government is demanding that every department should reduce its costs by cutting staffing levels and become more efficient, it would be appropriate to consider whether the number of MHKs could be reduced.

After all, several local authorities have already taken the lead by reducing the size of their boards.

For example, if the island were to be divided into nine two-seat constituencies, it would reduce the cost of Tynwald by 25 per cent - surely an attractive proposition. The average resident population for each constituency would be 9,388 – I do not think it unreasonable for two MHKs to share joint responsibility for this number of people. The Island could be divided into the following constituencies:

Douglas could be divided into three constituencies, each having 9,304 residents (variation 0.8 per cent)

Onchan could remain the same – population 9,273 (variation 1.2 per cent).

Ramsey could remain the same – population 7,821 (variation 16.6 per cent).

Peel could combine with German, Marown and Patrick – population 9,955 (variation 6.0 per cent).

Port Erin and Port St Mary could combine with Rushen and Arbory – population 8,859 (variation 4.7 per cent). Castletown, Malew, Santon and Braddan could combine – population 9,759 (variation 3.9 per cent).

Michael, Lezayre, Jurby, Andreas, Bride, Ballaugh, Maughold, Lonan and Laxey could combine – population 9163 (variation 2.3 per cent).

This, of course, is only one example of how island’s constituencies could be rationalised, but I think it is worthy of consideration. One concern I do have about the current proposals is the proposal which annexes Birch Hill from the rest of Onchan into another district. It make little sense to split the town of Onchan in two. I think that central government constituency boundaries should respect local government boundaries.

In an ideal world, reform of central government and reform of local government – which appears to be on the cards - should go hand in hand.

Tim Norton



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