A decision – taken without Tynwald approval – to spend £775,000 on engaging UK consultants to review health and welfare policy was ‘appropriate’ and lawful, Treasury Minster Eddie Teare MHK insisted.
Mr Teare faced a series of questions in Tynwald about the cost of the review, which is currently being investigated by the Public Accounts Committee.
He told members that CoMin approved the National Insurance and Social Security policy review, and in doing so was aware of the cost of the project.
Mr Teare said 61 per cent of project was funded from the National Insurance fund and the remaining 39 per cent came out of general revenue.
John Houghton (Douglas North) suggested a motion should have been brought to Tynwald given the sums involved. Mr Teare replied that he didn’t agree. He said: ‘I feel we acted within our vires [legal powers] under the 1992 Act and the action we have taken was appropriate.’
He said the aim of the review was to collate the information so that Tynwald could make a balanced decision.
The Treasury Minister revealed sums paid to external consultants from the NI Fund totalled £743,255 in 2013-14, £282,269 in 2012-13, £348,622 in 2011-12 £280,431 in 2010-11 and £265,683 in 2009-10.
‘The payments have been made from social security’s administration budget which has been approved annually by Tynwald. Therefore no further recourse to Tynwald was required,’ he said.
Kate Beecroft (Lib Van, Douglas South) asked whether during the Budget debate it was made clear what these sums were for or was this ‘another case of when we vote for the Budget we are signing up to all sorts of things we don’t realise we are signing up to.’
Mr Teare replied to expect Tynwald to debate every single line of expenditure in the Budget would take all year. Mrs Beecroft said: ‘Something of this significance should be brought to our attention.’
Mr Teare pointed out no Tynwald approval was sought for funding for the previous review of the NI fund back in 1992.
He said he was present at the CoMin meeting on September 12 last year when the costs and of the project were considered.