Blog 26 Feb 17Another one of those special weeks this week, as the Treasury Minister presented the first Budget of this new administration, and I got to deliver my first Budget speech.

Monday morning started with the usual routine of arriving at the office for around 8.15 and clearing out my in-box, scheduling some meetings and printing off a number of agendas for the coming week.

Just before 10am I headed over to the Old Jane Crookall for an informal briefing between the DHSC Minister, CEO and Political Members, which is always a great opportunity to discuss informally a number of Department concerns and issues.

At 12 noon the DHSC Minister took the Political Members out for lunch at the Horse & Plough. At 13.40 I travelled back to the office to collect some papers before heading over to DED for a meeting with the Manx Motorcycling Club and ACU re. the FOM and MGP.

A very interesting and vital meeting, in order to ensure that everything is in place for September and the Festival of Motorcycling and MGP.

The meeting finished just after 16.00. I headed back to the Legislative Buildings for a Constituent meeting, which was also attended by Ray Harmer, MHK and Martyn Perkins, MHK.

Unfortunately, I was slightly late for the meeting due to having a quick briefing with the Chief Minister and completing several forms that had to be submitted before close of business.

The meeting finished at 17.20 at which time I headed home. Monday evening was spent going through my Budget speech and the Tynwald Order Paper. Finally called it a day at 22.30.

In the office early on Tuesday in order to fully prepare for the Tynwald sitting. I was surprised how quickly the two hours before the sitting passed with lots of little conversations going on between Members. We also attended a short briefing with representatives from the Gideons who were presenting bibles to all new MHK’s.

At 10.20 I headed downstairs for the February sitting of Tynwald, which was started by Alf Cannan, MHK and Treasury Minister presenting his first Budget speech of this new Government.

The Minister’s Budget speech lasted around one hour, then it was opened up for debate by Tynwald Members to give their views. All 24 MHK’s spoke on the Budget, I managed to speak third behind David Ashford and Chris Robertshaw. My own speech lasted around 12 minutes and again I felt extremely nervous delivering the speech, and was disappointed with my delivery at the time.

However, when I listened to my speech again on Thursday morning, it wasn’t as bad as it felt at the time. I genuinely felt I had seriously messed up, especially when I spent a couple of weeks reading everything and drafting a balanced and fair speech to reflect the good points of the Budget, but also to ensure that my speech highlighted any serious concerns I had in respect of the Budget.

Lunchtime on Tuesday was taken up with the Baker Tilly Budget lunch, which was a gathering with numerous business representatives in the Barrool Suite.

Tynwald finished all its business by about 19.45, which has to be record for a Budget sitting. Once I collected my things, a group of Tynwald Members headed to the pub for a quick half, or for an Appletiser in my case.

With Tynwald finishing again in one day, my Calendar was free on Wednesday morning, which gave me an opportunity to catch up with things. In the office for 8.25 and after spending a few e-mails and draft a couple of letters, I headed into town to pick up a birthday card for Ellen. The rest of Wednesday morning was spent listening to my Budget speech, along with listening to a couple of other speeches.

At 13.00 we headed up to the Barrool Suite for a presentation on the Statutory Interpretation of Law, which was an excellent presentation given by Paul Beckett.

At 13.45 all the DED Members headed over to the DED office for our Bi-Weekly meeting. The meeting finished at 15.45, which was followed by a Strategy Away Day follow up meeting amongst the Political Members.

The meeting finished for 17.15.

With no meetings or briefings scheduled on Thursday, I took the opportunity to recharge the batteries and to stay at home. I still checked and responded to any e-mails or messages I received, but it was a good opportunity to catch up on some personal stuff, along with ironing and housework after a couple of stressful days.

With storm “Doris” hitting the Isle of Man on Thursday, it was certainly a good day to stay at home.

It clearly was a week of two halves, as Friday morning was relatively quiet but I still went into the office for 8.30. The free time gave me an opportunity to draft some letter templates, which will be needed in due course.

Just after 11am I headed into Onchan to look around the Leonard Cheshire Disability facilities with Keith Fitton.

After a quick cup of tea we headed to Ramsey to look around Thie Quinney Care Home. Truly wonderful facilities that truly enable people with disabilities to have independent living with an element of support when required.

You can certainly see the difference this type of facility gives people with disabilities on the island.

At 14.30 I headed back to the Legislative Buildings and my office in order to finish off my templates and to answer several e-mails.

Just before 16.00 I headed over the Old Jane Crookall for a DHSC Policy and Strategy Meeting, which finished at around 17.20.

I also have a quiet weekend planned, except for attending Onchan’s Live at Home Scheme event tonight, along with preparing for a School visit on Monday.