Isle of Man general election: what are the main issues facing the island?


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By the end of this week, the people of the Isle of Man will have chosen 24 new politicians to represent them at the House of Keys.

Many candidates campaign on local issues in the 12 constituencies in which they run, but once the new parliament is formed, national issues will take center stage.

Below are some of the main challenges the new Isle of Man government will face over the next five years.


Affordable housing

Housing has been a growing problem in the Isle of Man over the years and is an issue that was highlighted in most, if not all constituencies in this year’s election.

As new homes continue to be built on the island, many are arguing for more affordable housing to be a priority, including encouraging young people to stay on and even settle on the island.

The issue of affordable housing has featured in many of the candidate’s manifestos.

Brexit

The Isle of Man public had no say in the 2016 European referendum. Instead, the Manx government discussed with the UK government what Brexit will mean for the island. All Crown Dependencies are formally managed by the Department of Justice, but the Manx government still engages in discussions with other Westminster departments if necessary.

A shortage of staff on the island, especially in the hotel industry, has often been linked to the UK’s departure from the EU. The rights of the Manx fishing industry have also been called into question since the referendum.

Dealing with the repercussions of Brexit will remain an issue for the next administration, while maintaining a strong relationship between the Isle of Man and the UK.

The Isle of Man is not part of the European Union or the United Kingdom. Credit: ITV Granada reports

Climate change

Climate change is arguably one of the biggest issues facing the world right now, and it’s something that many candidates have regularly addressed in manifestos.

The latest government administration announced a plan on climate change with the goal of the Isle of Man reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Some argue that this figure should be reduced and that a faster response should be l ‘goal.

Whatever the goals, making sure the island moves to work in a more climate-friendly way will be a key goal for the next administration.

Climate protest outside Isle of Man government offices. Credit: ITV Granada reports

Recovery from Covid-19

Although the Isle of Man has spent a lot of ‘Covid-free’ time during the pandemic, the past 17 months have had a big effect on the island. Three separate closures had a huge impact on Manx society both socially and economically.

In the short term, Boosters will start rolling out towards the end of this year and with the borders almost fully reopening, any new variations will have to be considered as people start moving again.

As for the economy, the world-famous TT races have been canceled two years in a row, alongside a significant amount of money spent on salary support programs, similar to that on leave in the UK.

The next administration will undoubtedly deal with the repercussions of Covid-19, whether it’s tackling future variants of the virus or rebuilding the Manx economy.

There have been 49 Covid-related deaths on the Isle of Man. Credit: ITV News

Large infrastructure projects

The Ministry of Infrastructure takes most of the responsibility for projects on the Isle of Man, but the funding planning and scrutiny of these projects is something you see across parliament.

Notable projects include the Douglas Parkway, which has cost tens of millions of pounds and suffered many delays, with work in progress for more than three years.

The Liverpool ferry terminal is another project that has been delayed with a cost of over £ 38million.

The next government will focus on carrying out these projects to the appropriate standards.

The rehabilitation of the Douglas Promenade is expected to be completed by the end of September 2021. Credit: MaProm

Tourism

Visitors to the Isle of Man have been largely suspended for most of the pandemic after the borders were closed in March 2020.

It has only been in the past two months that tourists have been allowed to enter the island again and encouraging people to return to a post-pandemic world is something the Business Department will be focusing on.

The Heritage Railway is one of the main tourist attractions in the Isle of Man. Credit: ITV Granada reports

The Isle of Man general election takes place on September 23, 2021, and you can follow ITV Granada Reports’ coverage online and in the program on Election Day.

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