Falklands : Report on the meeting of Executive Council held on Wednesday 16th July 2014
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 17.07.2014 (Article Archived on 23.08.2014)
Matters arising included a discussion on the use of Stanley Airport for helicopter support a) during the forthcoming oil exploration phase and; b) during any subsequent production phase.
Report on the meeting of Executive Council held on Wednesday 16th July 2014
MLA’s present: MLA Elsby, MLA Rendell and MLA Summers
Matters arising included a discussion on the use of Stanley Airport for helicopter support a) during the forthcoming oil exploration phase and; b) during any subsequent production phase. FIG is keen to ensure the necessary facilities are in place to enable the use of Stanley Airport, including the appropriate fire appliances. Officers will continue to ensure the most cost effective and practical solution is found.
A paper on Land Development Policy attracted lengthy discussion. FIG’s policy must take account of the public interest in land for infrastructure and amenity purposes, as well as well important economic development needs. The policy also needs to be clear on revenue streams and disposal policy to ensure the maximum public good. A number of issues required further consideration, including linkage to new port development, sales policy to non-resident companies, more appropriate tax treatment of investments in ground works, leasehold vs freehold, lease conditions, a formal process for applications and disposal, further determination of the extent of Crown Land and boundaries, and an appropriate appeals process where freehold is essential. These policies also need to take full account of the upcoming port development project, the Stanley development and structure plan, and the national infrastructure plan. Members therefore concluded that a two stage approach was required. There will be a paper to the next Exco to amend the current interim policy to enable oil developments to take place at Gordon Lines, to consider further the transition to freehold for new applicants, and to ensure there is a suitable appeals process where there is a clearly evidenced need for freehold in the national interest. Where there is already an agreed transition to freehold this will be honoured. The balance of issues will be dealt with in conjunction with the other planning processes referenced above. This is likely to conclude in early 2015.
Members noted the processes and timelines for the next tranche of EU funding which will concentrate on infrastructure development.
It has been agreed to re-establish the Young Persons Unit under the management of the Health and Social Services Department to enable us to bring home young people currently in care in the UK. This is a welcome development for those people and their families.
The required addition to classroom space for the IJS received further consideration and some preferences and guidelines established for officers to take the matter forward. Members noted the list of important repair and renovation works schedules for FIPASS.
A consultation paper on revisions to Retirement Pension Contributions was accepted. The paper will be made public now for formal consultation in September/October. This paper reviews ways in which retirement pension contributions can be made more equitable for the lower paid without reducing overall income to the retirement pension scheme, which remains underfunded.
Priorities for the next phase of de-mining were agreed. This will take place over the next two seasons and will be subject to a tender process led by the FCO who are funding the programme. Priority will be given to areas adjacent to roads which are considered potentially dangerous or which hamper maintenance, and to areas of high amenity value south of Stanley. Fuller details will be available after fuller consultation with the FCO and the tender process.
A substantial piece of work on tax legislation for the oil industry was received and approved for legislative drafting. A paper on pay benchmarking from the Director of Human Resources noted that FI public sector pay scales are largely in line with UK scales, but with a few notable exceptions. FIG will continue to work to ensure our pay scales are realistic and fair, and we can recruit to necessary posts in the public service.
Proposals for the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour were received. Notification of recipients will be made formally by the Governor on behalf of HM The Queen in due course.
MLA Michael Summers
17 July 2014