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Government Priorities 8 October 2004

The Isle of Man Government's 2004 Annual Report indicates the Council of Ministers' priorities for the future as well as monitoring Government's performance over the past year.

The document, to be debated at the October sitting of Tynwald, includes updates on more than 200 key action points being addressed by Government to support the quality of life of the people of the Island.

Introducing the report, Chief Minister Richard Corkill MHK says the 2003/04 period saw progress in such important areas as the economy, employment, community safety, education, health and the environment. The new Nobles Hospital was completed, as were three other major projects which will contribute to a cleaner environment - the Energy from Waste facility, the Meary Veg sewage treatment works and the gas-fuelled Pulrose power station.

Mr Corkill commented:

"The Island can be proud of such achievements, which show that this is a caring community as well as an economically successful one."

Looking forward, the report highlights the Council of Ministers' priorities for the future. The priorities under the six central policy headings include:

  • Economic Progress: economic growth and diversification; continued delivery of the Taxation Strategy, including introduction of a standard zero rate of income tax for business in 2006; implementation of the Economic Strategy, including an emphasis on training and education of the workforce, and marketing and branding.
  • Social Well-Being: health promotion; the continued provision of NHS primary care services, including dental services; services for children and young people; reducing the harm caused by drug and alcohol misuse; freeing teachers to teach; supporting higher education students in the light of higher UK university fees; maintaining community safety and a low fear of crime; sticking with the target of building 1,200 new public sector and first-time buyers homes between 2002/03 and 2007/8, despite infrastructural and planning difficulties for first-time buyers homes; new moves to support people on low incomes.
  • Quality Environment: Renewable energy options; the introduction of an Energy Regulator with powers to regulate energy prices; a countryside stewardship scheme; a higher profile and increased resources for wildlife and conservation within DAFF.
  • Sound Infrastructure: Maintaining air transport links; development of an integrated transport strategy.
  • Good Government: Review the scope and structure of central Government; local authority reform; development of "e-Government"; review of state pension provision; introduction of a new Personnel Control Mechanism; Legal Aid reform.
  • Positive National Identity: improved management of the Island's relationships with the UK and EU, and of wider international issues.

A selection of facts and figures from the Isle of Man Government's 2004 Annual Report:

  • The resident population of the Island is now estimated at around 77,600
  • Inward investment - 19 offers of financial assistance were made to new businesses during the year, particularly in the ICT sector, compared with 11 the previous year
  • 10 per cent of Island homes have broadband, more than double the EU average
  • 34 organisations have Investors in People status, representing 18.7 per cent of the workforce
  • The Island's national income per head is 107 per cent of the UK equivalent and 110 per cent of the EU average
  • 58.5 per cent of Island pupils gained five or more A* to C passes at GCSE compared to 52.6% in England
  • 163 new first-time buyers homes were completed in the two years to March 2004, with a further 159 in the process of bring developed or having planning approval
  • Crime was down 16.9 per cent in the year, meaning there were 798 fewer victims of crime
  • A record throughput of nearly 750,000 passengers used Ronaldsway Airport with a 23 per cent increase in scheduled aircraft movements

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