Chief’s Tribute to Captain Tom
The main news story today is the sad death of World War II veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised over £32m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden in the run up to his 100th birthday. Knighted in a special ceremony by Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Tom had tested positive for Covid in the days leading up to his death.
In a tribute to him, Chief Minister Howard Quayle said: ‘He was a beacon of light in the darkest of days, a true hero and inspiration in Britain, the Isle of Man and beyond. A remarkable legacy. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.’
A consultation is being undertaken to seek views on the process to be adopted for the selection of a candidate to undertake the role of Tynwald Auditor General. An Auditor General works to save money by scrutinising gov spending. The office will have an annual budget of 855,000. Speaker Juan Watterson, who moved the motion in Tynwald last year to appoint an Auditor General said the office will ‘save more money than it costs’ within three to five years.
Most residents across the island, though famously not those in Marown, are facing rate increases as more local authorities announce their costs for the year 2021/22. The rates current system is based on a 1969 valuation of all of the property that was on the Isle of Man at that time and is due to be updated after this year.
Braddan Commissioners has set its rate at 224p in the pound, up from 203p last year.
Onchan Commissioners is up as well, to 326p in the pound, equivalent to a 0.93% increase from last year’s 323p.
Castletown Commissioners has announced a 6p increase, up to 304p, although the fixed refuse charge for domestic properties is up £10 to £145.
Peel actually stays the same, with the £196 per property refuse rate and the 257p town rate being frozen.
MNH Opens its Doors
Manx National Heritage has confirmed plans for a phased re-opening of the Manx Museum and House of Manannan following the recent completion of the circuit-breaker lockdown.
The House of Manannan will be the first MNH site to partially re-open, with the shop, café and temporary exhibition gallery opened at 10am today followed by the full re-opening of both the Manx Museum and the House of Manannan for Half Term on Saturday 13 February.
Taxpayers’ Bill for Pay Rise
A Keys written question from Lawrie Hooper MHK has revealed the total cost of a pay rise for teachers and lecturers is £1.7m.
Education Minister Dr Al said: ‘In addition to the September 2020 pay award, granted through the UK’s implementation of the School Teacher Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), teachers on the Isle of Man were granted a lumps sum payment, this payment was not a settlement but a recognition of the previous disputes around the 2018 pay award.
‘The total cost of this payment including employer’s costs was £1,787,000. This figure includes both teachers and University Isle of Man Lecturers. The funding for this payment will be transferred from the Treasury.’
Our friends in the Channel are now recording 306 (known) active cases of Covid-19 in the Bailiwick. There have been 30 new cases found in the last day and one person has recovered. Five patients with Covid-19 are currently in hospital. Guernsey is currently in its second lockdown.