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PAG Public Meeting 24/09/12 | Scope of Government - "Living Within Our Means" | Edgar Quine

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Scope of Government - "Living Within Our Means" with Edgar Quine OBE, QPM, CPM

Presentation at the Manx Legion Club, Market Hill, Douglas on Monday 24th September 2012



The after-shock of the UK unilaterally deciding to change the share of VAT which the Isle of Man traditionally received has necessitated an urgent national review of what is spent by our political representatives, as well as who will pay for it into the future.

This is forcing the Isle of Man Government to undertake serious soul-searching regarding its true role and function in a modern post-internet society - and how it gets from ‘Where We Used to Be’ to ‘Where We Need To Be’.

This is not easy or comfortable, as the present scope of government has evolved over centuries. It owes much to the drive for better Health, Education, Welfare and Social Reform of the Victorian era.

 The present soul-searching has led to our Government consulting the public over: Taxation Strategy; Social & Welfare Policy; and the Scope & Function of Government itself.

Inevitably, fundamental re-examination throws up fundamental questions, such as:

  • How the Government’s many duties and functions are to be financed into the future?
  • Which Citizens and Companies should pay for such functions in future - and in what proportion?
  • Should Citizens be asked to take more responsibility for looking after their own well-being, without depending upon “The State” to do so for them?
  • Given today’s affluent society, should some existing government functions be abandoned?
  • Would the cost and scope of certain government activities be better customer focused and responsive, if those activities were reliant upon happy customers, rather than Government subsidy, for their income?  

As part of this soul-searching the Government has now resurrected and is consulting upon the Review of the Scope & Structure of Government which was produced in 2006 - but side-lined by the then Chief Minister. This technical Review will form a major plank in the debate on exactly what Government should do and who ought to pay for it.

Edgar Quine’s background and experience made him an ideal member of the team which produced A Review of the Scope & Structure of Government. He is renowned as a senior IoM Statesman and a man of principle, someone not afraid to speak his mind. He is also much respected for his analytical ability and oratory. He will discuss the findings of the Report and its implications.

 PAG comments:
Following the VAT bombshell and recent actions and comments of Government Ministers, most people seem to be aware that if the Island is to continue to operate within a ‘Balanced Budget’ there has to be a lot of belt-tightening and many things that IoM citizens have taken for granted in the past will be up for debate in the future. 

Almost inevitably, this debate will be controversial, wide-ranging and cover a vast field of future choices, such as: - Can some of the existing Government Functions be abandoned, or scaled back? - How should ongoing state services be paid for best - by the Community Jointly or by the Users themselves?  - Can certain state activities be improved and made more customer focused if they were provided by the Private   Sector and paid for directly by the Customer?  - Should some Universal State Benefits be denied to better-off citizens? - Can our community continue to pay State Pensions at their present levels?- Can our community continue to recruit Public Sector Workers and guarantee to pay them inflation proofed Pensions in 50 years time, irrespective of what the future brings or whatever level that burden might grow to in the future?- How is the best way to raise future money for government Community Spending:- By Taxes on Citizens or on Companies; By taxes on Earnings and Income; By Sales Taxes on Goods; or By User Charges for actually using the services themselves– AND in What Proportions should these taxes be imposed?

People should come along to The Manx Legion in Douglas on Monday night at 7.30pm. if they want to be part of a growing public debate, which is ultimately testing fundamental community questions such as:If  YOU  want something  –  “When Should You be expected to pay for it Yourself?”   and   “When Should Your Neighbours be required to contribute towards it?”.

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0 #7 Are Public or Private sector Organisations more EntrepreneurialCiara Kaneen 2012-10-17 18:07

I currently working at Isle of Man Post Office and have been on their graduate internship programme for two years, and I am now in the process of completing my final thesis for my Masters in Business Management.

Do you think public or private sector organisations are more entrepreneurial?

I am looking for some willing respondant's from public and private sector organisations to complete my survey "WHO DO YOU THINK IS MORE ENTREPRENEURIAL ?".

The purpose of this survey will be to discover how entrepreneurshi p my change in Isle of Man Post Office if it is corporatised as proposed by the "Scope for Government Review".

Please find a link to my survey here...


Thank you taking the time to read this, and look forward to sharing the results soon.
0 #6 Listen to edited recordingWRT 2012-09-30 12:08
It's possible to listen to Manx Radio's edited recording of Mr Quine's talk and some questions from the audience here:


Scroll to Sunday Shows and click on Sunday Opinion

The recording will remain on the MR website until 7th October 2012
+1 #5 More than half lose benefits in crackdownMosses 2012-09-28 09:41

Atos Healthcare is news to me and I do not remember Chris Robertshaw making a reference to this in his presentation.
From the comments, it would appear that the actions of health/work services need scrutinizing (cheaper than a public enquiry). There appears to be much going on that is not openly made known to us. Yes, we do need ‘culture change’ but it does mean changing attitudes of private businesses seeking profit and governments that need a quality system.
+1 #4 RE Tony Brownmulokin 2012-09-24 15:58
Interesting to see Tony Browns comments.

No doubt whatsoever the worst Chief Minister we had until Bell showed up.

Yes remember the RHA Mr Brown headless chicken springs to mind.

Now run along and spent the nice fat pension your getting of the tax-payer for your outstanding contribution to Manx Governance.
-2 #3 Right of replyTony Brown 2012-09-24 14:35
I note from your article on your PAG website homepage titled Scope of Government' "Living Within Our Means" that you refer to me during my time as Chief Minister by making the statement as set out below:

" the Scope & Structure of Government which was produced in 2006 - but side-lined by the then Chief Minister."

I would a request that you correct this false statement. To clarify for you I confirm that as Chief Minister I did not as you say 'side-line' the issue. I have always been very clear on my stance on the part of the Report which relates to the Scope of Government and I publically totally rejected the recommendations relating the 'Scope of Government' aspect of the 2006 report. I did in fact lead the Restructuring of Government which came into effect in April 2010. So clearly your statement is incorrect.

Furthermore, not only did I totally reject the recommendations of that part the report when I stood for Chief Minister (a fact recognised by the Independent body in their 2011 report) I in fact did so when the report was first published - being prior to the 2006 General Election.

As you are likely to be aware the whole 2006 Report was shelved by the Executive Government of the day which was lead by the Chief Minister, Mr Gelling, as that Executive Government did not do anything with the Report apart from publishing it and 'noting it'!

I hope this clarifies the matter for you and that you will correct your
false statement as set out on your website.

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