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MHK says give DOI 'benefit of the doubt' on local authority reform

Wed, 21 Aug 2019

By Ewan Gawne - Local Democracy Reporter
By Ewan Gawne - Local Democracy Reporter

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer deserves ‘the benefit of the doubt’ over his approach to local government reform, says an MHK who favours a five-authority system.

In November 2017, David Ashford asked Tynwald to establish a committee to investigate the issue – the then backbencher was unsuccessful, but promised to revisit the subject every year unless progress was made.

Three months later, the member for Douglas North became the health minister following the resignation of Kate Beecroft.

Mr Ashford admits local authority reform has been ‘on the back burner’ since then due to the demands of his current role, but says he remains passionate about the subject.

He favours a five authority model for joined-up delivery of services, and decentralising of functions from government, with boards for the North, South, West, East and Douglas.

The former Douglas councillor concedes he’s been frustrated with the rate of reform.

However, despite being cynical of the efficacy of minister Harmer’s ‘hands off’ method to transforming local authorities, the MHK says this approach deserves a chance.


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