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Phil Gawne

Standing in Rushen

Candidate Details

Age: 46
Maritial Status: Married
Place of Birth: Douglas
Childern: Two
Occupation: Politician - formerly Language Development Officer


Ballakillowey Road

Contact Details

Tel 416221 or 834844
Email phil@mooinjerveggey.org.im
Website http://philgawne.im

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Political History

Minister, Department of Infrastructure - 2010 to date

Minister, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - 2005 to 2010

MHK - 2003 to date

Rushen Commissioner - 2001 to 2003

Candidate Views

What is your view on health care provision on the Island?

We have a good level of health care provision in the Isle of Man. Of course we should always strive to do better, and over the past five years I am pleased that Government has maintained Health expenditure at or above the rate of inflation.

In the next five years we must do all we can to protect our health services. I have while canvassing been made aware of many examples of administrative inefficiency - more must be done to minimise such inefficiencies. We must also tackle waiting lists going forward as the length of waiting is excessive in a number of areas - consultants must be discouraged from growing NHS lists to encourage patients to go private.

Does the Island provide a good education?

Again we have a good education system. We must do all we can to maintain the standards we already achieve and continue to aim higher.

Our main resource is our people - we must therefore ensure that all students continue to have the opportunity to extend their education either through vocational training or at degree level. Clearly the growing cost of tertiary education needs to be considered so I would favour continuing our current levels of funding for first degree courses but perhaps looking at part funded part top up loans for post graduate courses.

We need to look more carefully at preschool education. Currently if you are lucky enough to live in an area with a Department of Education nursery you get an excellent free service. If you don't you have to pay if you're there's a private nursery in your area. This is not fair and as we can't afford to extend the service any further perhaps everyone should pay a modest amount so that a more comprehensive service can be introduced.


Should the Island be independent?

I have always believed that the Isle of Man should continue the process of constitutional reform begun in the late 1950s early 60s which has been leading us to greater independence from the UK. We must do more to build links and strengthen existing friendships with other countries and consider all options available to us to ensure a stronger more secure future for our Island nation.I support a fully costed review of all the options available for our future.

What are your views on the islands taxation regime and VAT?

We must do all we can to maintain our low tax status as this is our main competitive advantage. We are still getting a good deal on VAT and have both 'fixed the roof while the sun shone' and 'put money aside for a rainy day' during the times of plenty.

Reducing public sector expenditure at a time when our economy is being buffeted by the massive financial uncertainties and turmoil facing the global economy, will be difficult and must be done with great care. Government expenditure represents about twenty five percent of our economy so savage cuts at a time of private sector fragility would be unwise as they may tip us over the edge into recession.

In the short term it may be prudent to use some of our reserves while maintaining the ‘managed retreat’ approach to spending cuts as currently adopted by Government in the past few years. This approach has delivered a fifty million pounds saving in two years and has delivered this largely without the need to consider compulsory redundancies.

Is inflation hurting the Isle of Man?

Clearly with pay freezes and significant rates of inflation people are becoming worse off. That said we are in a far stronger position in the Isle of Man than our neighbours.

Should there be state owned monopolies or free market competition (i.e. Water, Post, Gas, Electricity, Telecom's, Ferry Travel etc..)?

There is no 'one size fits all' solution here. What is clear is that there are numerous examples which demonstrate that the scale of our economy is not sufficient for free market competition to provide a stable service.

Should we have an open seas policy like the open sky's policy?

No. This is much more complex than it first appears. I support any measures to develop increased low cost travel to the Isle of Man, as we have a fantastic tourism product if only people could afford to come here. Provided we can introduce lower cost travel, we will have a long term sustainable sector which although likely to remain a small part of our economic output can have a big impact on the overall quality of life of Manx people as well as visitors. If elected, I will lobby for a root and branch review of air and sea travel to see what more we could do to reduce the cost of travel to and from the Island.

Does the Island do enough to protect its environment?

No we should do more in my view.

Energy costs have a massive impact on people and as, 95% of our energy is bought from other countries, it is important to secure energy resources over which we have control. Use of affordable and proven renewable energy technologies should be embraced, and measures to reduce energy waste encouraged as Government works to wean the Isle of Man off its massive reliance on imported energy.

Government has a good record in insulating public sector properties and needs to do more to encourage private households to do the same. There is a clear economic imperative to do this, as we collectively spend over £100m on imported energy and every pound saved is a pound which can instead be spent in our local economy. Energy prices currently have a massive impact on Manx inflation, so we need to reduce our energy waste.

While the private sector ‘energy champions’ established through the former Department of Trade and Industry have had a major role in changing cultures across Manx businesses, more can and should be done to provide incentives for reduced energy consumption particularly through grants for use of low energy technologies.

I will continue to support measures to encourage greater use of more sustainable means of transport. A cycle to work scheme could be introduced with modest funds raised from increasing charges on higher polluting vehicles. Public transport needs to be cheaper and more customer friendly to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

As DAFF Minister, I was very pleased to expand the number of protected areas of land and seabed. I also began the work to get the IoM signed up to the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity. Conservation work should continue to ensure that our biological diversity is retained, working with, and where possible led by, farmers and fishermen to better manage our natural environment.

Where do you see the future of the Islands economy (i.e. Finance, Manufacturing, Service, Tourism, Film, Space etc)?

To ensure that sustainable economic growth is maintained and a more diverse economy developed we need to reinforce and enhance our collective ability to identify emerging markets and back winners. The creation of the Department of Economic Development was a significant step in the right direction. This relatively new Department is focusing on delivering better value for money through more precise targeting of promotion spending, improving performance measurement, and working closely with business. It needs to strengthen high potential existing sectors, and to develop new ones, as the Island has successfully done in the past. Devising and implementing a new economic development strategy for Government is an urgent priority.

With limited resources we have to spend money wisely but if we are to find the next "big thing" in business we need to be prepared to take considered risk and spend some "seed corn" money on emerging new sectors. If significant progress is to be made Government needs robustly to defend this "considered risk" approach against the "blame and shame" culture often engendered by the media and some Tynwald members.

Departments of Government must actively engage with all economic sectors to ensure the best possible environment for business to thrive. Such engagement, will not of course, guarantee that business gets everything its own way - the overall needs of our community must come first - but it should allow for more business-friendly decisions.

More than ever Tynwald needs to work as a team. The constant back biting and negativity which has become increasingly prevalent in recent years is undermining our ability to succeed.

Measures to diversify our economy have been quite successful over the past decade and with an uncertain global financial outlook, it is important that we continue to look for new sectors for future expansion as well as doing all that we can to maintain the finance sector.

Significant expansion of our embryonic "clean tech" sector is a must. We are well placed not only to exploit the opportunities created by the UK's expansion of its renewable energy programme, but also to encourage and support research and development companies specialising in emerging "clean" technology.

The Department of Economic Development should continue to develop strategies and support packages to assist in the establishment of such new sectors. Tynwald and Government must allow the new Department the freedom to take considered risks in exploring new economic sectors.

Where do you think new jobs can be generated?

Clean tech sector. UK has hugely ambitious targets for renewable energy - 80% by 2050. We should be able to significantly benefit from this new market place.

Should the Chief Minister and MLC's be publicly elected?

Yes to both


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