NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
One wonders is any kind of advance information available to the Manx Treasury Minister, Eddie Teare, MHK or whether he is just so headstrong and self obsessed that he just ploughs ahead regardless. Either way he’s rapidly turning into the Stan Laurel of Manx politics!
Some weeks ago he announced that in an attempt to save money the Manx government henceforth would not pay the TV broadcast licence fee for pensioners over 75 years old. He acerbically dismissed criticisms of the move by averring that many pensioners in this age group could well afford the licence fee anyway.
A few weeks later George Osborne announced that henceforth the BBC will have to pay the over 75 age offset and effectively meet the shortfall from its own revenue.
The Isle of Man now finds itself in the position that all pensioners will pay the licence and part of that funding will go to help the UK give free licences to its over 75 population. The Manx government are now scrabbling to sort out the mess.
Is it Eddie’s fault – Surely he cannot be expected to be a clairvoyant?
Well yes it is his fault and the fault of his colleagues and those that advise them.
In February UK culture secretary, Sajid Javid MP, headed of attempts by some in the UK parliament who wanted him to decriminalise non payment of TV licences.
Minister Javid pointed out that his Department was undertaking a review of the whole licence structure and it would report and decisions would be taken by the UK government in the summer.
So why did the Manx Treasury Minister act precipitously was it ignorance or arrogance? Either way Manx (over 75) TV licence payers have to pick up the tab for his blunder.
One also has to ask why when Eddie unveiled his plans to get tough and ‘mug 75 year old OAPs’ for the licence someone in the Manx media didn’t ask – Isn’t there a review underway on that other Island?
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues