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Householder Survey will help Island to secure its fair share of VAT funds 16 November 2012

HOUSEHOLDERS are to be given an historic opportunity to help the Island secure its fair share of VAT and customs revenue for the future funding of vital public services such as health, education and social care.

They will be asked to take part in a major survey of local spending which will be used to help confirm the amounts due to the Isle of Man under its Customs and Excise Agreement with the United Kingdom. The Agreement provides more than half of the Manx Government’s annual income. Organised by the Treasury’s Economic Affairs Division, the survey will take place over the next 12 months and will involve more than 1,000 households selected at random. Each will be invited to participate in an interview and then to maintain a diary of all their spending over a two week period.

Stephen Carse, Government Economic Adviser and Head of the Economic Affairs Division, explained:

'When the Customs and Excise Agreement was revised it was announced that updated information about the Island’s spending patterns would be required to underpin the calculation of our share of VAT and customs revenues. The importance of this household survey cannot be overstated. With 57% of Government’s revenue coming via the Customs and Excise Agreement, the outcome will potentially be critical for the public finances. It is by necessity a huge survey, and we will be relying on the voluntary participation of residents. There will be a small monetary gift for participants, but I hope the major inducement will be the chance to be part of an historic exercise to make sure our Island gets its fair share of revenues for the future funding of important public services.'

Mr Carse is keen to emphasise the complete confidentiality of the information provided. He said:

'There is invariably some unease amongst respondents to any survey concerning confidentiality, perhaps more so when the enquiry is being conducted by government. But I can assure would-be participants that information provided does not go beyond my own offices. It will not be passed on or otherwise made available to any other part of Government or to any outside body. Nor, with a thousand households taking part, will the spending of any one household or individual be at all identifiable from the final results.'

The first batch of selected households will over the next week be receiving letters seeking their participation.

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