Paul Craine

Candidate for Middle, Isle of Man House of Keys election 2016

Seven weeks to go until the House of Keys election. I have so far visited around one third of the homes in Middle. I have enjoyed meeting many great people keen to talk about their experiences living in the Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man Social Attitudes Survey 2016 has indicated that: ‘A third of us are worse off” (Manx Independent headline 4 August). The survey covered more than two thousand people. It showed that 31% described their household financial situation as worse than one year ago.

We might be willing to dismiss a survey of ‘attitudes’ – but this information is supported by other sources.

The Isle of Man Earnings Survey 2015 recorded that mid-point (or median) earnings fell by 2.5% between June 2014 and June 2015. A few people had higher earnings but a large proportion of the working population earned less than the previous year. Many of us really are ‘worse off’ – even before we take inflation into account. I have met many people on the doorsteps who have painted the same picture.

This fall in earnings happened despite growth in the Island’s economy (GNP) running at over 4% in recent years.

As the economy of the Island grows and changes… it must work for everyone.

When the economy does not work for some of us we should not be surprised that people leave. The census result will show that population growth has stagnated and declined over the last three years. Births have fallen by 23% since 2010 because there are fewer young adults here.

The economy and the population should be the two key issues in the forthcoming House of Keys election. There is more to balance than simply the budget.