FORMER Ayre MHK Edgar Quine is to give a talk to the Positive Action Group in the aftermath of the VAT crisis.
The subject of his talk is ‘The Scope of Government – Living within our means’.
It takes place tonight (Monday) at the Manx Legion Club, Market Hill, Douglas, from 7.30pm.
The talk comes after the shock of the decision by the UK to change the VAT sharing agreement with the island in its own favour and the drop in income the Manx government now has as a result.
When the full effect of the change is felt, the Isle of Man will have a cut in tax revenue of about one third.
Mr Quine was one of the team that produced the recent review of the Scope and Structure of Government.
The question of what government does and how it does it is now back in the spotlight. The original 2006 Scope of Government report was shelved by then chief minister Tony Brown.
It has been dusted off by his successor, Allan Bell, who’s now looking at ways that tax money can be saved.
A Positive Action Group spokesman said: ‘Following the VAT bombshell and recent actions and comments of government ministers, most people seem to be aware that if the island is to continue to operate within a “balanced budget” there has to be a lot of belt-tightening and many things that Isle of Man citizens have taken for granted in the past will be up for debate in the future.
‘Almost inevitably, this debate will be controversial, wide-ranging and cover a vast field of future choices, such as:
‘l Can some of the existing government functions be abandoned, or scaled back?
‘l How should ongoing state services be paid for best - by the community jointly or by the users themselves?
‘l Can certain state activities be improved and made more customer focused if they were provided by the private sector and paid for directly by the customer?
‘l Should some universal state benefits be denied to better-off citizens?
‘l Can our community continue to pay state pensions at their present levels?
‘l Can our community continue to recruit public sector workers and guarantee to pay them inflation proofed pensions in 50 years’ time, irrespective of what the future brings or whatever level that burden might grow to in the future?
‘l How is the best way to raise future money for government community spending:? By taxes on citizens or on companies; By taxes on earnings and income; By sales taxes on goods; or By user charges for actually using the services themselves– and in what proportions should these taxes be imposed?’
Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.