It’s another short sitting for Keys this week with just seven oral questions making it onto the order paper and all of them come from Arbory, Castletown and Malew.
While other members pile in with the new look written questions, which are no longer part of sittings, there is clearly something in the air down south with Mr Glover joining in with Mr Moorhouse’s penchant for asking questions.
First up on Tuesday morning is Mr Moorhouse who will ask Treasury Minister David Ashford what support will be in place to help people hit by higher gas prices before January when support is due. Tynwald members seemed to be under the impression when they voted for the price hike that the bills wouldn’t come until then but Manx Gas customers are already seeing their bills increased and people understandably want to know why. There will also be pressure from constituents wanting to know why, given the drop in the world’s gas prices in the last few days, their bills won’t be dropping by a proportionate amount.
Next up it is Mr Glover who wants to know when plans for the new Castle Rushen High School will be submitted and ask Minister Julie Edge to make a statement. Due to the nature of this scheme and the gov’s desire not to be seen to committing the same mistakes as its predecessor, this will likely be one of the major early projects for the Major Capital Projects Board. The board was mooted in last year’s Budget but we haven’t really heard much about it since then.
Mr Glover then turns his attention to the Castletown Golf Links Hotel. A scheme which has dragged on for quite some time, Mr Glover wants to know when the submitted plans will go before the planning committee and who can apply for a demolition order for the former hotel. He will aim both of them questions at DEFA Minister Clare Barber. The application for redeveloping the site was first made in 2017 and has even been in front of a Deemster yet has not yet found its way to the planning committee.
The former news editor also wants to know why Arbory isn’t included in Manx Care’s plans to appoint two local area coordinators in the south of the island. Admittedly I know very little about this, but it will be interesting as it sets the tone for DHSC Minister Lawrie Hooper. Will the Lib Vannin leader set the direction of travel or will he refer it back to being an issue for Manx Care? There are criticisms of the nature of Manx Care and how transparent it actually is so this question, while important to constituents, also carries further implications island wide.
Mr Moorhouse ends the day’s play with two questions, the first is directed at DoI Minister Tim Crookall and centres on how many people will diabetes currently have a three-year driving licence and what additional requirements have been introduced to the application process. And he wraps up the sitting by asking the chair of the Housing and Community Board, Chris Thomas MHK, what plans he has to consult on increasing access to first-time buyer housing and if he will make a statement? Improving the access and affordability of housing, particularly to younger people will be one of the core challenges for this administration and Mr Thomas has a big job in front of him. I doubt this will be the last time we hear questions of this nature being directed at the Douglas Central MHK.