Gef’s Daily Roundup

House Prices

Policy and Reform Minister Ray Harmer has told Tynwald the provisional figures for 2020 house prices shows inflation of 6.5%. The figures, released after a request from Speaker Juan Watterson. The highest quarterly inflation was in Q1 in 2020 at 7.1% and this had dropped to 4.2% by Q3. This took the average house price up to £310,442 by Q3, compared to £225,000 in Q1.

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Mr Harmer said: ‘It is important to note that the data for 2020 still remains provisional as additional property sales are completed within the Land Registry and may be subject to change. The data from 2019 and earlier is considered final.’

Arrivals on Island

Between March 3 and March 9 there were 144 arrivals into the island. The figures, revealed show this included:

  • Patient transfer 43

  • Returning resident 70 

  • Compassionate exemption 8 

  • Contractual exemption 23

Meanwhile, the same period, 25 key workers travelled to the island. Most of those were DHSC workers (18), four were DoI workers and the other three were in the Department of Enterprise.

Contractual Applications 

Since March 2020, 935 people have been granted exemptions to travel to the island after successful contractual applications. Policy and Reform Minister Ray Harmer confirmed to Tynwald: ‘The Covid Response Team issues exemption certificates on a contractual basis to applicants who are in possession of a legally binding contract of employment or property. We are not able to distinguish between the entry types (employment or property), however the figure below is the total number of approved applications for the period requested.’

Veterans Railcard

Former servicemen and women from the island can access cheaper rail travel in the UK and on the island, in line with their UK counterparts. Speaker Juan Watterson asked the Chief Minister for a confirmation on this in this week’s Tynwald answers.

HQ said: ‘A person is eligible for a Veterans Railcard if they have served for one day or more in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve). Merchant Mariners who have seen duty in certain military operations are also eligible. A Veterans Railcard can be purchased from anywhere in the world via the website: https://www.veterans-railcard.co.uk/. As such, veterans who live in the Isle of Man can buy and benefit from the savings that the Veterans Railcard offers when travelling in England, Wales and Scotland.’

The Veterans Railcard is one of nine railcards offered by the Rail Delivery Group in the UK and the DoI has been advised that the Isle of Man is not entitled to be a member of this organisation and share reciprocity of tickets and revenue. A number of concessions for travel on the island’s heritage railways are also available to veterans.

Vaccine Wastage

Vaccine wastage in the island equates to 0.127% of all vaccinations administered. Figures released by Health Minister David Ashford show 38 doses have been wasted since the island first received vaccines to the island, 30 of those were over the two weeks commencing February 8. 2021.

Sabine Schmitz

Former Top Gear presenter and racing legend Sabine Schmitz – famous for being the only woman to win the Nurburgring 24 Hours – has died aged 51. Schmitz said last year that she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2017.

She had become synonymous with the Nurburgring Nordschleife, the 14-mile circuit in Germany that is renowned as the toughest in the world and won the 24-hour touring car race at the track twice, in 1996 and 1997, driving a BMW M3. Schmitz was best known on British TV for her exploits with Top Gear, first working with the original trio before later joining as a presenter in her own right.

Former host Jeremy Clarkson said she was ‘such a sunny person and so full of beans’.

Dominic Cummings

HE’S BACK, the PM’s former aide, Dominic Cummings, has criticised the Department of Health as ‘a smoking ruin in terms of procurement and PPE’ at the start of the pandemic.

He said that was why Boris Johnson had taken direct control of the vaccine programme. He also told MPs Mr Johnson approached him about working in Downing Street the week before he took office.

He was giving evidence to MPs on the Science and Technology Committee about the creation of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency known as Aria. 

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