Earlier this morning, the BBC has reported:

The Manx government has pledged to spend more than £70m on improving private housing conditions.

A recent survey of the island’s 35,000 private properties found 16.3% were in “poor repair or unfit”.

It estimated it would cost about £70.5m to repair the 5,759 homes affected.

Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said that while the full amount could not be found “straight away”, discussions were being held on how to “make that money available”.

Manx government to spend £70.5m on home improvements

This would be an outrageous transfer of taxpayer money to private landlords. Not only would such an expenditure of taxpayer money be very economically dubious, but it creates terrible moral hazard and may accidentally encourage landlords to run down the state of their housing stock in the hope of receiving taxpayer money in the future.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle needs to immediately clarify his Government’s policy here. Is Environment Minister Boot making things up on the fly? Or is this actually the Isle of Man Government’s policy?

If this is the Government’s policy, then it is economic madness. If this is not the Government’s policy, then Environment Minister Boot must be brought to heel.

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