Bid to merge two Manx authorities 'positive move', minister says
A proposed merger of two local authorities on the Isle of Man is a "positive move", a minister has said.
People in Arbory and Rushen have been sent letters outlining plans to combine services in the parishes.
Minister for the Department of Infrastructure (DOI) Ray Harmer said it was "really good" the idea had "come from the local authorities themselves".
Lawrie Hooper MHK said there had been "zero action, direction or drive" from the DOI over local authority reform.
Posting on Twitter, Mr Hooper suggested the minister was opportunistically taking credit for somebody else's idea.
He said: "After three years of zero action, direction or drive from the DOI on local authority reform I'm not surprised the Minister is jumping on this pro-active move by local authorities as some sort of vindication of his lethargy."
But Mr Harmer said the department had not forced island-wide reform on local authorities because they worked at "different speeds" and were at "different stages of development".
"Things that are dictated by the department or central government don't work, ultimately."
The letter sent to people in the southern parishes explained the implications of a full or partial merger, which it said could lead to "improved efficiency".
The last merger of local authorities on the island saw the creation of Garff local authority in 2016.
That move saw the parishes of Lonan and Maughold combine with the village of Laxey.