The government’s plan to seek a bond issue of £400 million will be put before Tynwald for approval today.
Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan’s proposal is to use such a scheme to refinance the Steam Packet to the tune of £160 million and for £178 million worth of loan advances to the Manx Utilities Authority.
How much of this is already a done deal should become clear today. There have been some murmurings from the back benches wondering why the Steam Packet and Manx Utilities could not sort their own bonds.
But a spectre of concern looms: just how much of a debate will there be on this?
Cast your mind back to the government’s purchase of the Steam Packet - and how it was preceded and enabled by an earlier decision to reject an investment offer from the Steam Packet, a rejection which was rubber-stamped by Tynwald with no debate, even taking President of Tynwald Steve Rodan by surprise at the time.
Any meaningful political jousting took place - if at all - behind closed doors, presumably at one of the members’ briefings that are probably not as popular among MHKs just before an election as they are just after.
Whatever happens on the bond issue, to sew up the argument behind closed doors and then afterwards tell the world is not enough, we deserve to hear all the arguments.
As befits the penultimate Tynwald sitting of the current parliament, there is a weighty agenda. It begins with a statement on television licences and also includes a report that has some stinging criticism of health chiefs’ handling of the reform of abortion laws, something which will now presumably be passed on to Manx Care to support.
There are calls for more to be done to address the interests and needs of the island’s youth. And there’s a real treat with the chance of a debate on the size of government. It’s a fairly safe bet no one will suggest we need bigger government.
A call for an investigation of an anomaly in planning law, and how changes are made to already submitted plans, will be raised.
It is hard to believe that it is a little more than a year ago Chris Thomas (Douglas Central) was a key member of the Council of Ministers.
But, since he has emerged from behind the mountain of government reports that bulges out of the Cabinet Office, he has repurposed himself as a thorn in the government’s side.
This week he plans to bring the rules on collective responsibility under the microscope. Expect some terse exchanges between former allies.
Unsurprisingly, this week sees a heavy question paper too, with a wide range of topics covered.
They range from the future of the Family Library to protection of public rights of way, Covid support measures and mitigation plans should they become necessary, Stobart Air to how preparations are going for the swearing in of the next lieutenant governor.
The evolving situation at the Corrin Memorial Home will also be raised.
It will be a busy sitting for Tynwald members and observers and the volume of business will likely scare the living daylights out of some.