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Island differences


manxman
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@manxman

 

Unfortunately, I've never had the pleasure of visiting the Isle of Man, but I'm curious to learn more about your laws and what autonomy does for you. I think many people, from a Shetland perspective, would be interested to hear your thoughts and ideas.

 

The biggest difference between the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man is, of course, taxation. Whereas the UK has a basic rate of income tax of 22% and higher rate of 40%, the Isle of Man's rates are 10% and 18% respectively. What's more, a tax cap of £100,000 is applied to any individual taxpayer in any tax year. National insurance contributions are 1% lower than in the UK, and for self-employed people like myself, are tax deductible (as is all mortgage and loan interest).

 

Unlike the UK, there is no capital gains tax, inheritance tax or stamp duty, and local authority rates are generally a fraction of UK council tax. Corporate taxation is at 0% for the vast majority of companies.

 

On this income, the Isle of Man Government provides a state-of-the-art health service (hospital built in 2003 on twice the budget of an equivalent sized UK hospital), sets its old age pension at 50% above the UK rate and delivers heavily subsidised transport (including three railways and a comprehensive bus network) across the island.

 

Furthermore, the island has no national debt whatever, since the law demands that the Government generates a surplus every year. This has resulted in a "war chest" of hundreds of millions of pounds, which the Government can spend as it wishes in the event of an economic downturn (unlikely, since the economy has grown rapidly every year for the last 22 years).

 

The island also enjoys more autonomy in that, unlike the UK, it is neither a full or associate member of the European Union. This enables it to regulate who moves to the island using a work permit system, and the island's social security system will not provide benefits to new residents for at least five years. (One reason the tax rates can remain so low.)

 

The legal system is also different, and generally punishes crime more harshly than the UK. For instance, the last death sentence in the British Isles was pronounced here in 1992 (although it was later commuted to life imprisonment) and judicial corporal punishment for youth offenders remained on the statute book until 1993.

 

[Note]

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I have split this post from the existing 'Lurkers thread' as I reckon it deserves its own mention. It is interesting to hear how other island communities manage and I hope that manxman will be able to fill in a few more details on any comments that might be brought up.

 

Although I have very little knowledge about the goings on in the Isle of Man, I have heard that it is quite popular with some of the "higher" society (those that have money). From what you said in the previous post then this would seem quite likely. Why base yourself somewhere at a higher tax rate when you can live for half the cost somewhere else?

 

Do you find that this 'bumps up' the cost of things locally or are they on a par with other areas in the UK? From my experience, anywhere that there is extra money to be spent, the businesses seem to put a premium on it for that area.

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Although I have very little knowledge about the goings on in the Isle of Man, I have heard that it is quite popular with some of the "higher" society (those that have money). From what you said in the previous post then this would seem quite likely. Why base yourself somewhere at a higher tax rate when you can live for half the cost somewhere else?

 

Do you find that this 'bumps up' the cost of things locally or are they on a par with other areas in the UK? From my experience, anywhere that there is extra money to be spent, the businesses seem to put a premium on it for that area.

 

Very true - I'm a tax exile myself (originally from England). The main drawback is in terms of raised property prices, which can be very high for certain types of home (I was browsing an estate agent's website earlier, and was somewhat taken aback to find an unremarkable three bedroom coastal flat on offer for £1.1 million).

 

There will come a point where the island's native born population will struggle to buy anything (although houses are, for some reason, very cheap in comparison to flats) and I think the Government will have to grasp the nettle sooner or later. My preferred solution would be a two tier housing system like Guernsey, which does not restrict incomers but does compel them to buy designated "open market" properties at the top end of the scale, restricting affordable homes to those born on the island or resident for many years.

 

Petrol is a few pence a litre higher than the UK and electricity and especially gas are extremely expensive, but food isn't particularly unreasonable. The island has a huge branch of Marks & Spencer, and the prices there are exactly the same as in the UK (whereas in Jersey and Guernsey a supplement is charged in the food hall).

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I think (at the moment) that land prices are more of a problem here at the moment rather than house prices (although they have risen dramatically over the past few years, they are probably still in line with the rest of the UK).

 

Fuel in Shetland has always been expensive. At the moment we are paying approximately 106p for unleaded and 109p for diesel.

 

Electricity and gas are the same as we would pay if we were living on the mainland.

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I'm not sure whether there is consumer choice for utilities in Shetland - there isn't any here. The Isle of Man is like Britain in the seventies in that respect, before deregulation took place: all telephone lines come from Manx Telecom, all gas comes from Manx Gas, all electricity comes from Manx Electricity and all public transport is owned by the Government. That doesn't make for the lowest prices!

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It does get slightly annoying though when you remember that most of it has been drilled just off the shores of Shetland and then the first UK land it normally hits is when it gets funnelled into the Sullom Voe oil terminal in Shetland.

 

So technically speaking it has a lot further to travel to get to you than it does to us!

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I've got a Manx friend who is about to finish uni - she often laments that she has no hope of affording her own place. She'll just have to wait for one of her parents to die (though they're divorced, so she's got two opportunities).

 

 

Roy Grønneberg wrote a good summary (though maybe a bit dated now) of several island autonomy systems in his Island Governments.

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  • 4 months later...
The Orcadian[/url]"]Peedie vs peerie - the debate rages on...

 

 

The “peerie†and “peedie†debate raged on in the council chamber on Tuesday, with another attempt to change the name of Peerie Sea Loan, in Kirkwall, to Peedie Sea Loan.

 

A further attempt by Councillor Jack Moodie for a change to “peedieâ€, at today’s meeting of the full council, saw the chamber split ten votes each way.

 

However, the convener, Councillor Stephen Hagan used his casting vote in favour of “peerieâ€.

 

A peerie victory fir wis. :)

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  • 1 month later...

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