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MHK's outrage at cost of importing bottled water - Isle of Man News - iomtoday

AN MHK is calling for all government departments and boards to use Manx bottled water.

David Cannan (Michael) says it is an ‘outrage’ that so much taxpayers’ money is spent on imported water from the UK.

The Isle of Man Examiner reported last month that just under 75,000 was spent by government departments, offices and statutory boards on water coolers in the last financial year. Most use imported bottled water.

This figure for the sum splashed out by taxpayers was revealed in response to one of a series of freedom of information requests submitted to the government by Isle of Man Newspapers.

Mr Cannan, who was previously chairman of the Water Authority, has written to the chief executives of all departments and boards requesting that, if they have to use bottled water, then they should make sure it is Manx bottled water.

He wrote: ‘I am becoming increasingly irritated when I visit government departments and statutory boards when I see large amounts of bottled water imported from Buxton and other parts of the UK in water coolers and available in bottles at meetings.

‘The Isle of Man is spending millions of pounds on promoting the Isle of Man and Manx products yet departments of government and statutory boards are spending money buying bottles of UK water.’

He told iomtoday: ‘It is an outrage that so much taxpayers’ money is spent purchasing bottled water from the UK when there is an abundant supply of the local product both bottled and natural.

‘It is important that the Isle of Man Government purchase Isle of Man products wherever possible and support the local economy.’

Mr Cannan included with his letters a brochure about Green Mann Spring Water although he has stressed he has no links at all to any suppliers of Manx bottled water.

He said that, depending on the response he receives from his letters, he will raise a question in Tynwald on the issue.

But he said the response from departments so far suggested there may already be a change of policy on bottled water.

David Killip, chief executive of the Department of Health and Social Security, told him in his reply that the department’s chief operating officer was currently reviewing the extent of the use of imported bottled water.

The DHSS spent 7,581 on cooled drinking water machines in 2008-09, many of the water coolers located in public areas in hospitals, health centres, clinics and residential homes.

Mr Killip added: ‘It does need to be recognised, however, that in some instances water is provided for clinical/patient benefit reasons. Nonetheless, it is very helpful to know of the local supplier.

‘The department will remain committed to the procurement and promotion of Isle of Man products.’

Mr Cannan said he was pleased to see some departments were now using Manx water: ‘The message is getting home. But if I continue to see in the next two to three months more and more Buxton water, I will be asking in Tynwald whether the Council of Ministers supports buying Manx.

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