Public’s views sought on govt’s bailout of Sefton

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THE public’s views will be sought during an investigation into the government’s bailout of the Sefton Group.

The Economic Committee, a Standing Committee of Tynwald, will enquire into the government support for the Sefton Group.

It has written to the government asking for initial written evidence and will seek further written and oral evidence from others in the near future.

Ramsey MHK Leonard Singer, who is the chairman of the committee, said: ‘The Chief Minister wrote to the committee asking it to inquire into this matter in the light of the significant public interest in the decision by the government to support the Sefton Group.

‘We have written to the government asking for them to explain the decision and, in the light of their evidence, we will be making further enquiries and collecting written and oral evidence. We will welcome evidence from the public in due course.’

The debt-ridden Sefton Group was given a £1.3m bailout by the government two weeks ago. Some £3.2m of taxpayers’ money was also used to buy the landmark Middlemarch site on the corner of Lord Street and Walpole Avenue in Douglas. Management at the Sefton subsequently denied the hotel group was on the brink of collapse.

The decision has prompted a backlash, especially from the rival Sleepwell group, which disliked the fact that its principal competitor was being given help by the government.

In this week’s Manx Independent, a backbencher says that some ministers would have to resign if the deal went sour.

The paper, which is on sale now, also asks Treasury Minister Eddie Teare MHK about a secret £450,000 loan from government to the group last year.

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