Defence deal with UK is worth it, says Ashford

The millions paid by the Manx taxpayer to the UK gov for defence and international relations is worth it, says Treasury Minister David Ashford.

It was revealed in the House of Lords recently that the Isle of Man gov pays more to the UK gov than either Jersey or Guernsey.

Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse asked Mr Ashford about it in the House of Keys this week.

The minister said the Manx gov pays the UK an annual sum ‘in recognition of defence and other common services provided on its behalf’ by the UK gov. The amount is determined through the IoM Contribution Agreement.

In 2018-19, we paid £3,121,881.25; 2019-20, £3,177,762.25; 2020-21, £3,236,233.76.

He added: ‘Personally I do believe it is value for money. It allows and guarantees that IoM residents can access consular assistance wherever they are in the world and, in the event of the need for them to be repatriated or evacuated from countries, they will be treated the same as any British citizen would.’

The amount paid increases annually based on the percentage figure of the GDP Deflator included within the UK Budget each year.

In the House of Lords, parliamentary under-secretary of state for justice Lord Wolfson revealed that since 2015, the Isle of Man had paid the equivalent of £37.78 for every person since 2015, compared with £14.28 for Jersey and £12.85 for Guernsey.

Alluding to those difference Mr  Moorhouse asked if the island received advantages the other Crown Dependencies did not.

Mr Ashford said the island had a written agreement, which meant that the agreement could not be unilaterally changed by either side, it needed a negotiation.

‘My understanding that is not in place with the other Crown Dependences,’ he said.

‘Although the convention is that the UK will always provide for defence and consular support for Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, we know from previous experience, conventions over time can change.

‘The fact we have a written agreement, I believe, puts us at an advantage.’

He confirmed there were no plans to renegotiate the agreement.

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