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Chris Thomas

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  1. What lofty ambitions and grandiose schemes do I have? How do you not know in which constituency Marine Drive is? Not knowing that seems contradictory to your normal posting style of "often wrong, but never in doubt".
  2. Thanks for your reply. Three reviews at the moment about NI in Isle of Man: Treasury's NI review to report back to inform 2023 budget, and two GAD actuarial considerations for different dates/periods. GB NI fund is different from IOM one. Starting point was same, legislation for both is similar, but - for instance - i) GB NI fund Investment Account has only around 40 x the value of IOM NI Fund Investment Account so you do maths about per capita value or impact of fund investment income, ii) no annual Treasury grant into IOM one, iii) IOM fund is not invested mostly in UK government debt and iv) investment income from fund is now often used to provide benefits alongside NI contributions and there is intergenerational aspect about retaining investment income in funds for future demographics (that is not just rhetoric, it is fact and policy). IOM NI funds can be used to provide social security, state pensions, health care, administration and other things approved in Tynwald. IOM decides policy in respect of fund, not Westminster, not GAD. IOM and GB/NI national insurance fund investment account policy diverged many years ago. Hope helpful?
  3. It seems you agree that the public is being prepared for drawing down the NI Fund Investment Account for general expenditure more and more?
  4. What a long post! What is the legal and political basis for your view that the Isle of Man NI Fund Investment Account is "simply for contingency"? Our Island situation is different from that in GB and NI. How do you reconcile the fundamental NI "contributory principle" with your suggestion that NI can be used for the public good?
  5. Is that public sector pension fund? If so, around £30 million now, and some of that is effectively missing investment income on contributions which are not invested. Remember too that public sector pension fund is general revenue in any case. Public sector pension situation is much improved since 2016 with the reserve's life extended by several years and the shortfall reduced by 1/3rd.
  6. The petition, and the objections to the original planning application, were on many grounds. My comment was about the legally argued case which was made successfully at the appeal. Alternatives include: Fibre to provide the home service which Sure has piloted in north and central Douglas since 2019 using another approach Use of the mast in Masonic Hall grounds with full planning permission Mast sharing between Sure and Manx Telecom, for instance at Dalton Street Licensed used of Douglas Borough Council street lights Masts on top of existing infrastructure and buildings Planning and telecoms policy around this is not right. There are two Government reports which relate.
  7. Thanks for question. Roger Mexico is correct that there were many projects in Cabinet Office and Council of Ministers in 2020 that Government were more able to put aside after my sacking. For instance economic regulation, 'generational thinking', rates modernization, application of needs and means testing principles, smart services framework, One Public Service etc.. This is a thread on Liverpool dock. Each of these matters could be considered in their own thread, existing or new.
  8. Not wrong, just over-emphasizing the 5G element I feel.
  9. Thanks for comment. Significant harm to residential amenity (General Policy 2 of Strategic Plan) and harm to conservation area character, appearance and views (Environmental Policies 35 and 36, Strategic Policies 4 and 5, and General Policy 2B) were reasons for refusal but another important one was failure to demonstrate strategic national need for the mast which cannot be secured by mast sharing or alternative locations (Infrastructure Policy 3). This was an important element of my Tynwald telecommunications motions in the last 18 months or so. Telecommunications policy, implementation and public funding are flawed. I would hope fibre, mast sharing and existing infrastructure are part of the way ahead. Sure has had a 5G pilot and wrote things like "no prospect of 5G in this area without a development of some kind" but concluded that "there is an urgent need for improved mobile phone coverage in the conservation area". Many residents did petition and object, and two appealed, but I was the only observer at the appeal hearing and the case made by one appellant's lawyers was persuasive.
  10. 5G mast? The mast was not 5G. Planners did not reject. Appeal was successful based on legal arguments.
  11. CURA has published its decision which is "no increase to gas tariffs at this time". See https://www.cura.im/media/1575/information-notice.pdf. More completely CURA's decision is: "22. The Authority’s Decision is that there will be no increase to gas tariffs at this time. A further increase would benefit Manx Gas, but disproportionately negatively impact on the Authority’s other stakeholders, specifically gas consumers and the public interest. The Authority should seek to avoid such asymmetric outcomes where possible. 23. At the time of writing the commodity prices are near an all-time high, however, as pointed out previously, it is unclear if this is a transitory phenomenon or not. In the recent past the market has seen dramatic increases in price but it proved to be short lived. It would be wise for the Authority to maintain a watching brief on it at this time but there is insufficient data available make any reliable predictions as to whether this will be a sustained increase or not. In any event, the current market highs were not the motivation for Manx Gas seeking the review of tariffs at this time. 24. The Authority is working to have more detailed price controls in place in early 2022, the effect of these controls will be to ensure that tariffs are fair. The biggest change that this regulatory framework will bring about will be transparency – all stakeholders will be able to see how the tariff is made up and that the returns being generated by Manx Gas are in line with market norms and are closely monitored. This means that consumers can have confidence that the tariff they pay is reflective of the cost of the gas they consume and the cost of providing it." CURA also helped clarify any remaining misunderstanding about Manx Gas's request in a background note as follows: "4. On 29th November 2021 Manx Gas wrote to the Authority, advising that in light of continuing high commodity prices it was losing “significant profit’” versus the previous year and requesting “a further review from CURA and recommendation of either another price increase or an alternative solution to rectify the significant impact on our business”. 5. It should be noted that this request for a review is in line with the review process set down in the Decision made by the Authority in May. Clear evidence of the criteria being met to trigger a review was provided to the Authority."
  12. For completeness: MT was never in Isle of Man Government ownership, unless I am mistaken. Government/Post Office was offered telephone part of GPO at its launch, but that was nearly 50 years ago; and What costs of gas are nationalised? I think Treasury and MUA seem to charge gas costs and charges to Manx Gas and thus to gas customers. Any dispute is about the size of those costs and charges, and, for instance, how they are charged to MUA customers and to those of Manx Gas.
  13. I cannot see the same thing coming as you believe you see. Telecoms regulation needs to improve too. That is already work in progress for me. For instance why does the monopoly part of telecoms get 8.9% ROCE annually when this rate has been found to be too high in gas and is Government using public funds to over-invest in cabling and masts rather than focusing on forcing infrastructure sharing? Some people even suggestion anti-competitive practices.
  14. My campaigning since 2012 for economic regulation of gas and other natural monopolies - with questions, motions, regulatory contributions and executive government activity - might have contributed too!!!
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