Some £50 million has been saved by freezing the government’s salary budget, Chief Minister Allan Bell said during his ‘State of the Nation’ speech.
At the annual conference organised by the Alliance of Isle of Man Compliance Professionals, Mr Bell outlined his vision to ensure the island’s long-term future.
A capacity audience at Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club heard that while this year’s Budget will confirm government remains on target to rebalance its books by 2015-16, the continued pressure on public finances demanded a bold and innovative response.
Mr Bell said: ‘I know the private sector has looked to government to lead by example and accept some of the pain that has been felt elsewhere.
‘I can assure you we have been working towards creating a leaner, more efficient and more customer-focused government for some time. Over the past five years we have cut the number of public sector posts by more than 500. And we continue to target further reductions of at least 100 per year.
‘We have also sought to reduce government expenditure by containing our salary budget. Our overall employee costs peaked at £316m in 2010-11. This figure fell to £312m in 2013-14, and it will be lower again in 2014-15. Had salaries kept pace with inflation during this period we would now be looking at a bill of £361m in 2013-14, or £371m in 2014-15. That’s a difference of £50m in the current financial year, or at least £60m by next year.’
Mr Bell said radical government reforms, unanimously approved by Tynwald last week, would cut bureaucracy even further and provide a more joined-up approach to policy.