Island should not prostitute itself to rich

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I WOULD like to echo the views stated in Steve Martin’s excellent letter (Examiner, February 15), regarding an inequitable planning system weighted in the favour of the ‘super rich’.

I am certain I am not the only person in the island who has found the recent murmurings from the Department of Economic Development regarding the ‘vital need’ to attract the super rich to our island, demeaning and slightly insulting.

It appears that it is now widely acceptable for DED to openly prostitute our island out to the super rich with promises of planning concessions, tax incentives and numerous other ‘IoM exclusive’ benefits.

Is this really what we’ve stooped to? Bribes to tempt rich new residents as a part of a economic growth strategy?

Surely this tactic is insulting and potentially problematic to the rest of the island’s population, if indeed the main reasons why the super-rich are moving to our island is on the back of grubby promises of tax incentives or favourable planning decisions from our DED.

I, like the vast majority of the island’s population, am more than happy for anyone to make the IoM their home, assuming they are doing so because they actually WANT to be here and can contribute to our island, not just because they have been promised a favourable planning decision or have been advised to do so by their accountant.

I would wholeheartedly agree with Mr Martin when he advises us to take a look in any estate agents window – there are numerous properties available for high-net worth individuals, without having to spoil any more of our countryside with new builds.

For a government that prides itself on fairness and an equitable society, the idea that a two-tier planning system will, and argueably currently does, exist, is extremely saddening.

I hope in these (relatively) difficult financial times, our government is not just blinded by pound signs and suggest they don’t forget that there are many other aspects that make a successful society.

Perhaps Allan Bell and his DED colleagues could take time to at least ponder the late Ned Maddrell’s comment, when he said: ‘Its people, not money, that make a community’.

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