Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading needs 'more teeth'

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading needs "more teeth", according to candidates standing for election in East Douglas.

In a debate held by Manx Radio on Tuesday, candidates said they would approve of the Manx government giving the organisation more powers.

The issue was raised after an Office of Fair Trading inquiry into Steam Packet freight charges was dropped.

MHK Chris Robertshaw said the island needs the watchdog to be empowered.

The other candidates for the area, Geraldine O'Neil and Richard Kissack also backed the proposal.

Ms O' Neil said the public need to know what they were paying for while Mr Kissack said he would like to see government information flow more freely to the public.

The OFT was criticised for dropping the Steam Packet inquiry.

It said a recent freight price war with Mezeron, coupled with a change of ownership made it no longer relevant.

Mezeron has since ceased operating the rival freight service.

'More clout'

MHK Brenda Cannell, also standing in east Douglas, said while the OFT does a lot of good work, the people of the island now expect more.

"Giving the OFT more clout on the island has always been resisted by the council of ministers, this was raised many, many years ago but it still hasn't come to pass." she added.

OFT Chairman Bill Henderson said there were plans to review the whole system.

"I would certainly welcome any changes in Manx legislation which could give the organisation more powers - a complete review is currently under way looking into how the laws impact on the workings of the OFT.

"Over the last 18 months, the OFT has been working hard to undertake a review of the system and those findings will be handed in to the House of Keys in the future".

In the Isle of Man, the OFT is a statutory board of Tynwald which means that it cannot act independently of Tynwald and must operate within the laws Tynwald introduces.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites