Dr Allinson MHK, Treasury Minister – Your ministerial position carries an express duty to ensure the use of public funds is always in the public interest.
The Steam Packet Company purchase at £120 million is recognisable as a reckless overpriced acquisition.
Also reckless was the ordering of a new extravagant over-sized, over specified , fuel guzzling boat at £80 million.
The SPC purchase instigated another £100m being wasted on a landing stage, and now £6.6million on the King Edward VIII pier.
The shareholder (Treasury) now needs to consider replacing the board of directors, then instruct the new board to refurb the Ben-my-Chree and sell this unaffordable misfit boat, which appears to struggle in open sea winds and around harbours.
A £1million dividend on a £300million spend equates to a catastrophic loss and you as the current minister must now address the stark facts.
The world has changed in the past three years and now so must the Treasury.
The £150million of government subsidised loans to this company (1.07%) in the current economic situation are no longer justifiable.
If it is government’s will to retain the Steam Packet as an arm’s-length company (not a quango) then Treasury must change the 150 million loans to a commercial bank loan where the bank will be responsible to monitor the company’s performance and therefore apply appropriate commercial control to its directors ambitions.
The £150 million could then be appropriately released to ease the economic turndown.
For example; £150 million invested in providing a 10-year government montage scheme with initial £250,000 loans would facilitate 600 first time buyers/key worker mortgages at 2%.
This would have an instant effect by stabilising a young work force in offering hope to many young people that the island can provide a future for them.
This mortgage scheme could also accommodate young people currently in public sector rentals moving into home ownership.
Home ownership stability in turn would significantly contribute to help shore up and restructure the islands failing frontline services, and help manage sustainable levels of inward migration.
I continue to await the freedom of information requests for the funding of the Manx Development Corporation (MDC) but at best guess the funding of specific developments are not specific loans or relate to inward investment purchases.
It is likely considerable taxpayer monies are being spent designing grand schemes that investors would never buy.
This cannot be the model members expected when they approved the operating of this corporation.
There is now a real necessity to bring a restructuring of these quangos back to the floor of Tynwald.
Dr Allinson, there is a gaping opportunity for someone with credibility to install accountability, transparency, and honesty into a failing administration.
Someone now needs to lead by example and breathe some new life back into the economy and the island as a whole.
Take the island in a new affordable direction, instead of one suffering from financial incompetence and continual overspend on vanity projects and projects which could never be affordable. Please step up.
This letter was first published in the Isle of Man Examiner of September 5.
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