The IOM Government is committed to “develop a high level policy for means testing” within the Programme for Government (P4G).
As part of that process a Consultation document has been published, which sets out the views of the Council of Ministers. It refers to "basic principles to be adopted in respect of how services are provided, with regard to the means of the applicant”. It concludes with 5 recommendations which cover what, whose, which, when and how means are tested in future, via incremental change.
Spokesperson for PAG, Roger Tomlinson, is concerned that the consultation raises more questions than it answers:
“On the face of it the proposals are intended to agree the principles for a testing system, and aim to simplify it. But there is a wider 'technological aspect' which needs to be explained.
Minister Thomas states in his Foreword that a card based system, for providing benefits, will offer the best opportunity to develop a more flexible and responsive way to protect the vulnerable. No doubt he is referring to the Single Resident Record, details of which the public knows nothing.
It would seem that it is part of the Digital Inclusion strategy and a necessary component of Government as a Single Legal Entity.
It is the basic building block of these important issues and the public needs to know more about proposals for individual records before agreeing principles of means testing. Digital Inclusion could easily morph into Digital Intrusion.”
PAG is of course pleased that Minister Thomas has agreed to explain and to answer questions from the audience about the recommendations and various issues raised by this consultation.
Is More Means Testing Merited?
a presentation by Hon Chris Thomas MHK, Minister for Policy & Reform
7.30 p.m. Monday 26th June 2017
Manx Legion Club, Market Hill, Douglas
The public meeting is free and open to all.