The Liberal Vannin party is calling for a ‘Covid focused budget’ package from Treasury Minister, Alfred Cannan later this month.
The party claims ‘now is not the time to drop our guard’, and urges Treasury to ‘remain Covid-focused, with a budget that is fair and just, and provides opportunities for our community to start to grow and prosper again.’
In a media statement the party says: “This year’s budget needs to ensure funding is available for the Department of Health and Social Care to ramp up vaccinations to help protect us all. Funding is also required to provide increased resilience for our health service. We need to be able to deal with health care as usual and focus on reducing waiting lists for physical and mental health needs, that have been impacted by the Covid crisis.”
The party states that across the local community, different people have endured very different experiences throughout the pandemic: “Many jobs have been harmed, particularly in the in-person service sector, which can be precarious at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic, it says.
Liberal Vannin is urging Mr Cannan to ‘ease the squeeze on the cost of living for those people who have endured a roller coaster in their income and retired people living on limited fixed incomes,’ and claims there should be no ‘Covid Tax’ in the budget.
The statement also touches on the need for suitable, affordable and sustainable housing and calls for funding to support the delivery of the all-Island housing strategy, including support for improving home insulation and replacing fossil fuel heating systems.
Also identified by the party is the need for financial support for those businesses in greatest need to be maintained to help them, survive and keep people in jobs, whether self-employed individuals or those running or working for larger firms. Particular attention, they say, must be given to businesses like retail, health and beauty, travel, hospitality and tourism.
According to the party local farmers and those in the sea-food industry are suffering a double whammy, with markets still recovering from global lockdowns whilst having to get to grips with the changed landscape following the UK / EU trade deal. “Support from government should be available as required,” claims Liberal Vannin.
The Treasury Minister is urged to resist raising taxes and increasing the financial burden on fragile businesses and individuals as they try to get back on their feet and replenish savings spent over the last 12 months: “Government has a lot more financial muscle than our small businesses or families and is much better placed to weather this storm and take a longer term approach to balancing the books. Treasury should urgently assess the financial state of our local authorities, to ensure that we don’t see rate increases in response to managing Covid,” says the party.
In conclusion they say: “This must be a year to weather the challenging financial legacy of this crisis, concentrating on building and supporting our diverse and vibrant economy as the Island recovers, by using all the policy levers available. We hope that Treasury agrees and we look forward to seeing the budget statement in Tynwald.”