Council Rate

Douglas Borough Council has set the 2022-23 rate at 468p, up from 451p the previous year.

Councillors agreed to the 17p rise at their public meeting held on Wednesday January 26. Council leader Claire Wells said that the rate had been set against a background of rapidly rising inflation and influences outside the council’s control, notably rises in energy prices and Energy from Waste gate fees, an anticipated Public Service Commission pay award increase, and provision for loss of income in the event of this year’s TT and Festival of Motorcycling being cancelled.

Addressing members Councillor Wells said the council was at a point in its history ‘to transform challenge into opportunity’ adding: ‘The budget I present today is a sustainable budget for the town, its community and the future’. 

For a typical three-bedroom house the new rate will be £543 per year, which equates to £10.44 per week (an increase of 38p per week from 2021-22).

Homestay

With under four months to go until the 2022 TT Races, Isle of Man firm MiQuando, who operate the official Isle of Man Homestay Scheme on behalf of the Department for Enterprise, is encouraging Island residents looking to register their properties for homestay this year to get in touch.  

The Homestay Scheme provides an opportunity for households to host paying visitors for both the TT and Manx Grand Prix. During these periods, registered ‘Homestay Hosts’ can earn up to £1,800 tax free income and will have access to the Department’s Public Liability insurance. 

Rob Callister MHK, Political Member with responsibility for Visit Isle of Man and Motorsport, said: ‘As preparations for this year’s TT and Manx Grand Prix are well underway, 2022 is shaping up to be a very busy year for the Island’s iconic motorsport events. The need for good quality, alternative accommodation during these peak periods is going to be vital as we look to attract more visitors to the races.’

Any household looking to offer Homestay during the period must be registered. Registration is quick and easy, with fees of £60.00 for a new one-year registration or £80.00 for two years. The fee includes an inspection visit plus marketing on the official Homestay website www.iomhomestay.com and social media pages. In addition, registered hosts will have access to the Department’s Public Liability Insurance.

Tribunal

You may have noticed this week that the Dr Rosalind Ranson v DHSC employment tribunal is ongoing. During the first day, people had been able to listen in via Microsoft Teams, however from day two onwards, we were informed that this was no longer the case.

In response to this, Michael Josem of the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance has said: ‘Public tribunal hearings should be open to the public. An open and transparent justice system must be visible to the public. This is a core human right in the Isle of Man, and it is important because transparency helps to ensure that justice is done. The Government needs to stop trying to hold public tribunal hearings in secret.’

Dinklage v Disney

Disney has responded to criticism made by actor Peter Dinklage about its forthcoming live action adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Dinklage said the remake of the 1937 animated film, based on story from the Brothers Grimm, was ‘backward’. Disney said it was going to ‘avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film’.  Dinklage had said Disney should have reassessed the project.

Operation Big Dogs

Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan during the fall of Kabul, according to emails leaked by a whistleblower. The PM has previously dismissed as ‘nonsense’ claims he intervened in the evacuation of the Nowzad charity, run by former Royal Marine Pen Farthing.

But an email from an official in minister Zac Goldsmith‘s office suggests he was personally involved. It is one of a number of emails released by a select committee. The August 2021 message to another official in the Foreign Office says: ‘Charity Nowzad, run by an ex-Royal Marine, has received a lot of publicity and the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated.’ When asked in December if he had prioritised animals over the Afghan people in the evacuation of Kabul, Mr Johnson said: ‘That is complete nonsense.’

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