Falkland Islands' Member of Legislative Assembly Roger Spink has expressed concern about the shortfall in achieving the objectives of the capital program for 17/18.
At a recent meeting of Legislative Assembly he responded to a portfolio report by MLA Roger Edwards saying: “I wondered if my Honorable Colleague has given any thought to what steps we need to take to increase the capability of the Public Works Department to cope with the increased capital program.”
MLA Edwards replied “Members were made aware yesterday at the Standing Finance Committee that indeed there’s going to be quite a large carry over yet again from the 17/18 budget into the 18/19 and going forward.
He said this would only increase: “We’ve already got new proposals for something in the order of £40 million capital works in the next year.
“Add in what is being carried over, we’re probably looking well in excess of £50 million, closer to £60 million capital works.”
MLA Edwards said the PWD had never in the past exceeded much over £20 million capital works but he was, “hoping that when it comes to the budget select committee … there will be a detailed plan of who and why and how … then members will be able to look and see at a glance whether we’re falling behind in any particular project.
“It is a major undertaking and certainly there will have to be major changes to how we do things now.”
MLA Ian Hansen also commented: “I’m sure we all appreciate that the Public Works Department has a huge range of things to do, and it’s sometimes quite surprising how much they get done.”
In related news the FIG Standing Committee reported this week a forecast surplus for 2017/2018 budget, which has risen again, to £27.7 million, due to better than expected investment performance.
In addition, it is expected that revenues from squid fishing will increase the surplus to £32.9 million next year.
Another report confirmed the rise in the estimated cost in social welfare, which has gone to £245,000 due to an inability to recruit staff locally, leading to the use of expensive agency staff.
MLA Barry Elsby asked for the estimate for the end of the year, and though a full breakdown wasn’t available, mentioned that it could be as high as half a million pounds. MLA Teslyn Barkman expressed concern over whether any applications were being received at all. (PN)