TYNWALD has approved the principle of providing financial assistance to support Manx businesses.
But it has held back from setting up a specific investment fund, called for by Middle MHK Howard Quayle.
Treasury Minister Eddie Teare MHK successfully moved a report on the feasibility of establishing the investment fund at last week’s sitting. The report concluded that instead of a new fund, the best way forward was to make greater use of the Economic Development Fund, using existing legislation.
Treasury and the Department of Economic Development will report to Tynwald on progress implementing changes to the current policies for providing businesses with economic and financial support.
And an amendment by Mr Quayle was passed that DED reports progress in November 2013, including the number of initial approaches by businesses, formal applications made, successful applications, and the level of support given.
At the time of the original debate, figures of £25m-£50m were put forward as the possible size of the fund but Mr Teare said Treasury staff had been unable to quantify the level of demand – the amount of money that would be requested from businesses meeting assessment criteria and considered to be an acceptable level of risk.’
He estimated demand would be less than £10m over the next two years, adding: ‘This is not a limit I am seeking to propose, as applications should be considered on an individual basis. If applications producing positive growth and the economy exceeds these figures, then intuitively they should continue to be supported.’
He said to be successful it was ‘likely that Government will become exposed to greater risk of financial loss’ but that DED and Treasury would seek to ‘minimise and manage’ it.