There is currently no funding available for a Covid-19 memorial garden in St John’s.

This is according to the Chief Minister Alfred Cannan, who confirmed that there is not enough money within either the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) or the Department of Infrastructure (DoI) budgets to start works on the proposed site.

The potential site for the memorial garden had been identified as Cooil y Ree in St John’s, close to Tynwald Hill.

Speaking during March’s Tynwald sitting, the Chief Minister said: ‘DEFA undertook the task of identifying an appropriate location for the site. The project was then tasked to be delivered by the DoI, with any environmental expertise and assistance from DEFA as required.

‘After Cooil y Ree was identified as the most suitable location, DEFA engaged the services of a local landscape designer to develop an appropriate memorial garden which, once approved, the DoI would procure and manage its installation.’

Mr Cannan then confirmed that because of cost pressures within the two departments, funding is not currently available for the garden - unless a bid is made to the capital fund.

Two years ago, the initial cost of the garden was quoted at approximately £150,000 - but the Chief Minister believes that this price will now be higher.

He said: ‘It’s not just the construction costs, as ongoing maintenance costs need to be considered as well.

‘The government budget does seem like a lot of money, but as honourable members will know, cost pressures within departments are immense at this moment in time.

‘I'm sure that that this project will eventually get some traction, but it depends on the bids that now go into the Treasury and how those bids are defined in terms of prioritisation.’