Tynwald unanimously approves new winter measures to help cost of living

Friday 23rd September 2022 1:24 pm
Coronavirus daily press conference - pictured is Education Minister Dr Alex Allinson (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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Tynwald has unanimously voted to approve a second series of measures designed to address the cost of living crisis and energy prices.

These measure include:

- A loan of £26 million from the Treasury to Manx Utilities to enable it to cap electricity prices at current levels until March 31

- The capping of bus fares at a maximum of £2 per journey for a three month trial from November

- A third round of support payments in December for those receiving child benefit or on low incomes

- Accelerating an £8,000,000 programme to improve energy efficiency in homes.

- The establishment of a Community Support Fund, with an initial allocation of £100,000

This fund will include warm space initiatives.

And as for the initiative to improve energy efficiency, this would include ‘energy doctors’, or people assigned to give households advice on how they can save energy.

Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson said that the government will monitor any support announced in the UK and respond accordingly, but warned that ‘[the Manx] government cannot intervene to help everyone’.

Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Tim Glover, who is a member of the Department of Infrastructure, said that the fare caps were not enough and called for free bus services instead.

Douglas East Joney Faragher echoed this call, while Douglas North’s David Ashford said 42% of the island’s population in Douglas and Onchan, or one third of bus passengers, would see no impact with their fares being below £2..

Mr Ashford also questioned what would happen to energy prices after March 31, and whether the required 70% tariff increase would happen all at once at this point, or be staggered.

Dr Allinson responded that after this ‘electricity prices will have to go up’, but that this will be done in a ‘staggered and proportionate way’.

Douglas MHK Claire Christian pointed out that the measures may discriminate against middle income earners, or single people with no dependents.

Chief Minister Alfred Cannan commented that ‘the benefits of taking universal action rather than targeted action does mean that those who are perhaps more capable of paying higher bills do get more support, but it does help our broader economy by I hope maintaining a level of discretionary spending that would perhaps disappear if we were to approach this in a targeted way’.

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