DCSIMG

Manx government has no money for Freedom of Information legislation

WEDDING CAKE BUILDING - HOUSE OF KEYS - TYNWALD

WEDDING CAKE BUILDING - HOUSE OF KEYS - TYNWALD

  • by Adrian Darbyshire
 

Freedom of Information legislation will be brought in – but at a significant cost, according to Treasury Minister Eddie Teare.

And he said with no extra money available for government departments, the cost of implementation will have to cut into their budgets.

Mr Teare said the budget process for next year was progressing well and he had now spoken to all departments.

The process had been helped by the introduction of three-year spending plans, giving departments more certainty about the expenditure constraints in which they will have to work in the future.

The Treasury Minister said: ‘I’ve had negotiations will all the departments now and only finished last week. I’ve got one of the statutory boards still to see. We are now working on the figures to see how they look but they are aware there is no extra money.’

And he added: ‘We need to decide how to deal with cost of implementing Freedom of Information.

‘It will be brought in but there will be a significant cost. It will have to come from the departments’ budgets’

Chief Minister Allan Bell has pledged to introduce the legislative framework for an FoI Bill into the branches of Tynwald before the end of this year.

Mr Teare told the Manx Independent that the need for FoI legislation was ‘about perception more than anything else’ as the existing code of access to government information worked well.

The Manx government had lost about a third of its income following forced revisions of the VAT revenue sharing arrangement with the UK.

A strategy to rebalance public finances by 2015-16 is on track.

But with the government coffers having lost some £200 million a year in customs receipts since 2009, the spending squeeze will continue for many years to come.

Mr Teare has conceded there may be a further cut in the island’s VAT share, currently some £270 million, once the UK’s Office of National Statistics analyses data currently being collected on household income and expenditure and company revenue and costs.

 

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