Positive Action Group - Possan Jantys Jarrooagh

Open, accountable government, rigorous control of public finances, and a fairer society for all.

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Biogas from seaweed presentation

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Seaweed_OnchanOn 11th April at the Manx Legion Chris Greenwell - Senior Lecturer in Geoenergy, Durham University - raised the intrguiging possibility that the Isle of Man could obtain 10% of its future biogas needs from seaweed.

His presentation is attached

Related Manx Radio item

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 12:36

2013 Budget and the "Unfair Society" - Part One

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Mr Teare's latest budget recently presented to Tynwald was widely greeted with enthusiasm- a "steady as she goes" performance that was allegedly just what the island needed. I must disagree.... it was a clear demonstration by a mathematically challenged Treasury Minister to continue this government's willingness to "kick the can down the road" and let later generations pick up the bills for its excesses. No-one enjoys paying taxes, and no-one likes bad news - but the reality is that this government continues to spend the reserves at an excessive rate, whilst meantime failing some fundamental tests of a "fair society".

Why ? Well, let's start with income tax and the personal allowance of £9300- it was last raised in the 2010/11 budget, 4 years ago - and then only by 1% from £9200. In essence, the effect of the failure to raise the allowance every year is to bring more low income people into the tax-paying class (an inflation effect known as "fiscal drag") and which is a "stealth tax" on those living on low incomes.

The personal allowance is widely regarded as the minimum income required for a fairly basic standard of living - and currently, 28% of our taxable population (20,500) falls below this level, thus paying no income tax. A further 31% of our taxable population (22,700) then fall into the 10% tax band paying a total of just £12 million income tax, or only 8% of the total income tax take. Taxing people at this level of income has two obvious consequences - it produces negligible levels of tax, but adds administrative costs by providing work for those employed in the tax offices of government (albeit for minimal tax benefit).
Thus, 59% of the population generates just 8% of total income tax receipts. The 41% balance of our taxable population (29,200) then pays income tax at the higher rate of 20% - but that 41% contributes £135 million, or 92% of the income tax bill. For most of that 41%, their marginal rate of tax is the full 20% - for every pound extra of income, 20 pence goes in tax....... until your annual income reaches some £615,000. At this point, you pay the "tax cap" of £120,000 (also frozen this year) - and thereafter your marginal rate of income tax falls to exactly zero. Just 71 people opted to pay the cap of £120,000, generating a tax take of some £8 million - but their average income was some £3 million each per year, - meaning the percentage of their total income paid in income tax worked out at just 3.8% (according to Government's own statistics).

Those 71 manx residents include (I assume) at least 6 who appear in the Sunday Times "Rich List 2013" - and includes one whose wealth was estimated at £2.3 Billion,and whose annual income is likely to have exceeded £50 million - and who will have paid his income tax bill at an average rate of much less than a penny in the pound..... Had all those 71 individuals paid tax on total earnings at the higher rate of 20%, Government finances would have benefitted to the tune of £35 million.

At a time when government spending is being financed from reserves, and public services being reduced, is it "fair" that those with the highest incomes - and with the greatest ability to pay - pay income tax at an average rate of less than 4 pence in the pound, and actually have a marginal rate of zero ? And at the same time, making those on very low incomes liable to income tax as a result of not increasing the personal allowance in line with inflation ?

Chris Blyth

ps It's worth pointing out that a single person, on the minimum wage of £6.20 per hour, working a 40 hour week (and with no other allowances) has a total income of £12,896 per year - and thus is liable to income tax of just under £360 - an average rate of 2.8% which is considerably more than the average rate paid by those included in the Sunday Times list..... Had the personal allowance kept up with inflation from 2010, the allowance would now be in excess of £10,500, removing many on low incomes from the tax net.


Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 10:38

The Legislative Council - What now? with Chris Thomas

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"The Legislative Council - What now?" - Presentation by Chris Thomas M.A. (Oxon)

Presented at the PAG meeting on Monday, March 25th 2013 at the Manx Legion, Market Street, Douglas

FileFile sizeDownloads
Download this file (LegCo PAG 25032013.pdf)'Legco, What Now?' by Chris Thomas - PDF format1438 Kb1099
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 09:20

Adult services - Fair Access and Charging

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This thought-provoking consultation document is well worth a look. Existing services are not always well co-ordinated and on occasion access requirements can be tricky to determine.

Of course, you and yours may not be in need at present, but who knows what the future holds?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 22:58

Words we don't use in this nursery

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I was talking to a Government minister today (as one does - all too rarely.)
And I happened to ask about 'cuts.'
He blanched.
I realised I had put my foot in it.
A nasty solecism.
Verbal dogshit.
'We...don't say cuts', he replied in hushed tones.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 22:50

Public Broadcasting consultation

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Following our meeting this month, tomorrow marks the deadline for your comments on the future of Manx public broadcasting services. 

Should Tynwald have a commitment to public service broadcasting?

Should Manx Radio remain the Island’s national broadcaster?

The committee on public broadcasting is made up of chairman Richard Ronan MHK, Onchan MHK Zac Hall and Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan. It was set up in December in the wake of a Treasury report into the public broadcasting subvention which was carried out in July 2012. They will look at the policy, delivery, cost and scope of public service broadcasting before reporting back to Tynwald.

Raise your concerns in writing to:

Committee Secretariat

Legislative Buildings
Finch Road
Isle of Man
Tel: 01624 685500
Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

More information   

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 12:54

Aalish breathes again!

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Hello, everyone! I don't know about you, but three action-packed days of Budget Week debates left me breathless with suspense. Would my dear Chief Minister (and the sweet Mr. Teare of course) get their way in the face of those carping publicity-seeking hounds (and bitches, too), always raising questions?

Surely we don't need questions. We need answers. And the Government has the answers - isn't that what a government's for?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 22:34

PAG Meeting on 'Local News Matters' 21/01/2013 - Report

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  • Ron Berry, Managing Director 3FM
  • Bill Dale, Editor / Joint Owner of Southern Chronicle,  Owner, Offshore Public Relations

Related documents and video links are available at the end of this report

PAG’s latest public meeting debated what the media could look like in the IOM in a few years time.

Currently a Select Committee of Tynwald is charged with a review of the way public service broadcasting is delivered in the Island and PAG thought it would be a good idea for members of the public to hear what one interested party thinks about the matter.

Independent radio station 3FM’s Managing Director, Ron Berry shared his ideas on how broadcasting in general could be shaken up on the Island with effectively - as it was put to him by a member of the audience - a reverse takeover of Manx Radio. Mr Berry denied this was the case, but many in the audience didn’t seem too convinced even though there was an element of support for a more ‘commercial’ approach to be taken to radio broadcasting on the IoM.

FileFile sizeDownloads
Download this file (Model Public Service Broadcasting law.pdf)Model Public Service Broadcasting Law238 Kb1042
Download this file (access airwaves.pdf)Access Airwaves Report216 Kb1000
Download this file (UNESCO public broadcasting.pdf)UNESCO report on Public Service Broadcasting2114 Kb880
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 22:02

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