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Falkland Islands: Weekly Penguin News Update

Friday, May 29th 2009 - 11:29 UTC
Full article

Headlines: Padgett reveals Budget, Deficit announced in line with amended Medium Term Financial Plan; Next of kin to fly in for inauguration;13 year-old supports local team; May Ball colour supplement.

13 year-old supports local team

After saving loose change for a month, Ryan Poole has presented a cheque for £80 to the Falklands football team to help them on their way to the Island Games in Aland in July.

While other kids his age might have been eyeing up the latest mobile phone to spend their pocket money on, 13 year-old Ryan, has been ferreting away coppers to, “help out the team”, as he told Penguin News.

Ryan, who is also a fan of Liverpool FC, has always been “mad on football” according to his father, Stephen. He hopes that when he’s older he will be able to play for the Falklands team in the Small Island Games, and said that if he kept on practising he might be good enough.

Normally a spectator on the Stanley football pitch, in particular supporting his favourite player Stevie Aldridge, Ryan is planning to listen to all of the football matches on FIRS while the team are away. His message to the team is: “Don’t give in.”

Stephen Poole said that saving for the football team was all Ryan’s idea and that he had enlisted his father’s help with the project. Stephen said that Ryan had really amazed him; he had thought his son might whittle away the money over time but he kept to it and he was, “so proud he didn’t give up.”

Padgett reveals Budget

Deficit announced in line with amended Medium Term Financial Plan

A BUDGET deficit of almost £1.7 million has been forecast for next year, however a “reasonable balance has been struck between expenditure across the full range of service provision for social purposes, economic development and capital investment.”

So said Keith Padgett, Director of Finance, when he delivered his first Budget since succeeding Derek Howatt in July last year.

Revealing the recommendations of the Budget Select Committee which had been approved by Executive Council yesterday afternoon, Mr Padgett said that despite another tight budget round, all essential services were maintained broadly at existing levels.

He told the Legislative Assembly: “The Public Works Department continues to be allocated the largest share at £8.5 million. Next is Health and Social Services which is allocated £7.5 million.

“Education and Training, and the Fisheries Department are each allocated £5.3 million. £3.5 million is allocated to Central Administration. This includes the services provided by the Secretariat, Treasury and Computer Section.

“Aviation, which covers Civil Aviation, Stanley Airport and FIGAS, is allocated £2.5 million and the Department of Agriculture is allocated £1 million.

“The remaining heads of service are allocated less than £1 million and details of the revenue and expenditure for all departments will be shown in the approved estimates booklet.”

Mr Padgett announced the introduction of means testing for pocket money granted to Further Education students (£40 per week for families earning up to £31,000 a year; £30 per week for families earning between £31,000 and £46,500 a year; and £20 per week for families earning between £46,500 and £62,000 a year) and for the granting of the Family Allowance, which is to be raised from £53.50 per month to £60.

It is intended that the full Family Allowance will be paid only to families earning less than £31,000 a year. No allowance will be paid to families earning above £46,500 a year and half of the allowance will be paid to families earning between these two thresholds.

Construction projects and improvement schemes approved under the capital budget announced by Mr Padgett included £2.27 million to complete the expansion of the wind farm and £1 million for the construction of a permanent sea terminal at Port Howard.

Also included was a provision of £700,000 to fund the remaining improvements to the abattoir – this is subject to further consideration by Executive Council, following a review of economic benefits which is currently underway, and is not therefore approved at this stage.

Two hundred and sixty-five thousand pounds were allocated for improved television and radio services and a total of £2.6 million was also included for “direct and indirect” support to the Camp community - relating to coastal shipping and ferry services, meat company subsidy, energy grants, agricultural business development, labour scheme, farm improvements and pension contributions. For more from Mr Padgett - plus a summary of the Budget highlights - turn to page 3.

Next of kin to fly in for inauguration

THE Argentine next of kin visit to inaugurate the memorial at the Darwin war cemetery will take place in early October, the Governor announced this week.

Delivering his annual address to the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Alan Huckle said the visitors would not be arriving by chartered flights, as the scheduled Lan service would be used.

The Argentine Families Commission originally estimated between 600 and 800 would be making the trip, Mr Huckle said, however the exact number would not be confirmed until the logistics of the trips were organised.

The next of kin would be travelling to the Falklands on October 3 and 10 for which Lan had agreed to supply a larger aircraft, the Governor announced. He added that the schedule would have to be altered slightly as the Argentine passengers would be leaving on the same aircraft, and would need adequate time in which to attend the ceremony.

The two separate flights have proven necessary due to the volume of Argentine next of kin who wish to make the trip; a third flight has reportedly been requested but nothing has been confirmed.

Both flights will be from Punta Arenas via Rio Gallegos; Lan’s planned stop at Rio Gallegos on October 17 has been cancelled due to this arrangement, and normal passengers will not be excluded from either flight. Continued on page 2.

- Inside this week, four-page May Ball colour supplement

Penguin News

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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