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Executive Council held on Wednesday 27 August 2014

Report on the meeting of Executive Council held on Wednesday 27 August 2014

MLAs Summers, Cheek and Rendell attended the meeting.

The first paper of the day was the Financial Business Case for a New Port and the Director of Central Services (DCS) attended for this item. Members agreed the recommendation that there should a halt to further work on financing models associated with the Port William new Port Infrastructure Works, until further notice due to the expenditure levels and the funding required. Meanwhile the DCS was instructed to negotiate with Premier Oil on an extension to Temporary Dock facilities already in the harbour, as and when required for oil development, together with the long term needs for infrastructure in the Islands.

Two additional pieces of work in the paper were also agreed. Firstly that a review of the Statement of Policy Principles: port location and oil infrastructure development, is carried out to determine whether or not it remains fit for purpose in light of the first recommendation in the paper and secondly that an in–house review of the port service needs of the fishing, tourism and agriculture industries can be adequately met until a permanent new port is developed.

The DCS was also present for the next paper on the Fuel Supply Licence Part B. After much discussion it was agreed that an extension to the fuel licence held by Stanley Services Limited be approved in principle until 2023 but excluding the existing sub-contract. The DCS was authorised to continue negotiating with SSL, the terms for an extension to the exclusive licence and to bring those terms back to ExCo for a final decision in December.

The DCS will continue to work for FIG from the UK on port and fuel licence issues in order to complete these pieces of work.

A report from the Principal Complaints Commissioner (PCC) was noted. The report relates to a particular individual, so it will not be made public. It was agreed, however, that the role of the PCC be given more exposure by details being placed on the FIG website.

The General Manager FIDC attended for the next paper regarding a loan application. EXCo agreed the loan in principle and referred it to Standing Finance Committee for consideration. A paper on The National Accounts 2007-2012 was noted and will be published. Due to applying international criteria, the tourism industry is not specifically itemised but it was acknowledged that it was wise to follow globally recognised categories of activity. However, fishery, agriculture and oil activity statistics are captured in the reports. This is a large piece of work and the Economist based in the Policy Unit was thanked for completing the analysis.

Next the FIG Performance Management –Q4 Results were noted. One area of interest for the public is that Members asked for consistency across FIG in response times to enquiries and request for information.

Members discussed a paper from the Head of Environmental Planning (EPO) on the requirement for additional land for light industrial use. ExCo approved in principle the development of the Kiel Canal Road area for this purpose. The paper lists what the blocks of land could be used for. It is hoped that this initiative, prior to the completion of the Development Plan, will go some way to satisfy demand for plots of land for business use.

A paper on Waste Management also written by the EPO was discussed next and a draft action plan, to be achieved over the next two years, was approved. The plan covers many of the issues raised in various workshops and in the Mary Hill Quarry Oil Spill report. Approval was then given to recruit a person to implement the action plan. This post was agreed in principle earlier in the budget process but MLAs wanted the role of the post clarified before recruiting proceeded.

Another paper from the EPO and Head of Policy was considered regarding a temporary extension the prison. As this is a departure from the Development Plan, ExCo approval was required. The Planning & Building Committee had resolved to recommend that ExCo grant approval to additional temporary facilities, comprising a modular prison block extension to be installed south of the existing prison building. The Director of Emergency Services is currently in the process of procuring the buildings. There have been objections from the public to the temporary extension but in light of available funds, ExCo members were of the view that this is the best solution at this time, and approved the project.

A paper requesting information to be supplied by the Tax Office in relation to eligibility for persons to make Retirement Pension Contributions (RPCs) was considered. After discussion, Members agreed to the Governor authorising the request to release tax data to the Pensions Office but only for statistical purposes. This information would then inform the Treasury and Members if there is a problem with non-payment of RPCs or not.

The Pensions Office is planning a publicity campaign in October to stress the need for people to make savings for their retirement. The campaign will clarify the facts for employers, and the self-employed and the requirement to make contributions to the Retirement Pension Scheme, when people earn above the threshold of £180 per week. ExCo considered a paper from the Deputy Director Public Works on allocation of funds to be used for external engineering services to support the capital budget. Members had approved £600,000 to be utilised over the next 4 years for this purpose in Budget Select Committee. It was agreed that the funds should be used as outlined in the paper to support work on the following: the temporary IJS classroom to be built in Stanley House grounds, the Elderly Care Home, the Power Station and the MPA road. Design work for other capital projects will be funded from the Design Section budget.

A paper on oil industry tax related matters was approved. It was agreed that the AG and FS be given authority to appoint specialist legal advisors to amend Extra Statutory Concession 16 (Appendix A) to allow partial disposals of hydrocarbons licences to further facilitate investment within the Falkland Islands.

A request from Government House to restructure their staff to create a stronger and more resilient team, was approved. Members were assured that staff involved had been consulted and there was no request for additional funds to support the restructure.

Finally, an appeal against a refusal to issue a work permit was not agreed.

MLA Rendell.


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