Treasury Minister David Ashford has said the Budget should not only focus on what is going into gov depts and projects.

Mr Ashford was asked by Tim Glover MHK about what plans he has to deliver his Budget (the pink book) in a different format and if depts would be expected to adopt a priority-based model?

The Minister said that the budget process is ‘currently under consideration by Treasury to ensure it meets the financial planning needs of the Isle of Man government’. However he did cautioned members against setting their minds to one particular method.

Mr Ashford said: ‘In considering the options, I am very conscious of the need to ensure that departments remain fully accountable for the public monies in their budget, and moreover, that they are accountable to the public for the best use of those monies.’

And added: ‘Traditionally, Budgets have concentrated only on controlling inputs to the system. I think we need to focus more on actual outputs achieved and delivered for the public money spent. I think Departments must be accountable for their performance, and perhaps we can facilitate this with a system whereby Departments prioritise their expenditure within an overall envelope set by the Treasury.’

It Takes Time

However, Mr Ashford has warned that changes such as the ones he proposed take time so we should not expect to see radical changes to the next Budget when he announces it in February. Despite this, he did confirm that changes to the capital Budget (the pink book) to allow it to be presented in a more simplified way should make it easier for MHKs and the public to understand.

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