Mr Speaker, first I would like to start by thanking the Treasury staff, my Colleagues around the table, the Treasury department and all those who have been involved in order to achieve this £1Million operating budget deficit as planned in the revised Medium Term Financial Plan. Presently things are on course for a balanced budget next year.
Our fisheries resource is under great pressure, not least because of over-fishing of straddling stocks by Argentina. Our income from this activity is slowly reducing but we must not become less vigilant in our budgetary planning because of the prospects of oil income. If oil is there, it is still many years before we see any additional revenue flowing into our coffers.
For some years we have maintained our reserves at two and a half times annual expenditure. And we must try and maintain that sort of ratio but cannot allow strict adherence to stifle the economy.
For Camp we have agreed to support the Abattoir Business Plan to again assist with the transportation cost of shipping animals to the Abattoir. We continue to fund the Agriculture Department to continue the Farm Improvement Plan, etc. Bur I hope the Department does not restrict assistance to just Lambs, Mutton and Beef. We also need assistance towards the production of Pork to reduce our alliance on imports. Horticulture similarly requires assistance so as to reduce the price of fresh vegetables. We no longer want to see £6.00 Lettuce and £14.00 Cabbages. In next year’s budgetary process we will be looking at next year’s veterinary fees continuing the user pays theme.
During last November’s election process this Assembly promised to review means testing. And I am delighted that family allowances, pocket money, etc. will no longer be subject to this. We still have much work to do with assistance to the lower paid with their Retirement Pension Contributions. But we will be revisiting this before the next budget.
We have re-introduced a Medical Services Levy and this will be directed towards supporting the ever burgeoning cost of the Medical Department. It will, by no means, cover the total costs but every little helps.
We will continue to review the Review of Government with the aim of localisation of more senior posts within Government.
I am delighted by the continued spread of the new TV and Radio services across Camp and, as of yesterday, in Stanley. The installers and SSVC and also the Director of Procurement and Efficiency deserve our thanks for the work that they have done. Other than charges for installation into properties, that is not our primary residence, there will be no other charge over these 12 months.
I am delighted to see the cost of electricity coming down as a result of the investments into wind energy and trust in years to come we can see more savings being passed on to the public and businesses. Lower energy costs can only provide a boost to the future economy.
I would like to say farewell to Paul and Ann Martinez. And wish them both well in their new posting in Uruguay. I am sure we have not heard the last of them. Thank you for all your help and wise counsel.
Finally I would like to say how much I support our new Prime Minister, David Cameron and his attitude to banning all mobile phones and laptops from meetings. I look forward to meeting the United Kingdom Members of Parliament later this year at the Party conferences in September and October.
Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.