The Chamber of Commerce is urging Government to put more focus on its economic strategy following serious concerns raised by businesses in a recent survey.

The organisation, the island’s biggest business network, has conducted quarterly economic surveys for several years to gather feedback from across all sectors of the economy, and from chamber members and non-members.

Results from its Q2 2023 Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) show 93% of respondents expressed a vote of no confidence in Government when asked if they believed the economic strategy would be completed as promised.

In the same poll, which included responses from 64 respondents, 83% said red tape was preventing them from investing and hindering growth.

‘With 93% of respondents believing the economic strategy will not achieve the goals for growth that Government has set out, the message from the business community is loud and clear. They want to see more clarity on actions, deliverables and timelines,’ said chamber president Kristan McDonald.

‘That’s why the chamber is calling for urgent action and stronger leadership to help restore confidence, and support economic growth.

‘We appreciate that there are many demands on ministers and officials right now, but the chamber feels strongly that it is in Government’s and the island’s best interests to address the concerns of businesses,’ he added.

The organisation says this latest survey is particularly important because it provides a snapshot at a time when there is mounting evidence that employers, and their employees, are facing very challenging times.

‘All data gathered in our QES surveys is anonymised, so respondents can be reassured that their data and views are treated in the strictest confidence,’ said chamber CEO, Rebecca George.

‘However, the tone of comments made by businesses in the latest survey clearly indicates very serious concerns about the current state of the economy, and the Government’s plans to address the issues that businesses – especially small businesses – are facing.’

Another key issue revealed in the survey is that 83% of respondents think that the consistency and reliability of air travel to and from the island has got worse in the last 12 months.

And inflation continues to be the main concern of businesses, with just over 91% citing it as a major worry for the future – the same percentage as in this year’s first quarterly survey.

There was some good news, with evidence that the cost of labour, raw materials, utility bills and fuel have decreased in Q2 compared to the Q1 2023 chamber survey.

The chamber aims to be a leading advocate and champion for business in the island, with a focus on creating a climate of growth and success in the community.

As well as core questions received from the British chamber, the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce’s survey also includes questions aimed at local businesses to gain a deeper understanding of the economic landscape in the island.

‘This survey provides a valuable opportunity for businesses to have their voices heard, and provide data in a confidential environment that will be valuable to chamber and government,’ said Mrs George.

‘Its significance cannot be overstated because it plays a critical role in providing up-to-date information about the current economic climate, helps to identify trends, and collects vital data.

‘This will enable us to continue to engage effectively with government and inform the decision-making process concerning the ongoing economic situation.”

A spokesman for the Department of Enterprise said: ‘The department enjoys a strong working relationship with chamber and meets regularly to discuss a range of matters.

‘While the survey represented the views of a relatively small number of respondents, we greatly value all feedback received and will continue to work with Chamber, and other stakeholders, to deliver on the objectives of the economic strategy and Island Plan.’

l The Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce has also announced a new partnership with the North East England chamber to enhance trade support for island businesses.

The collaboration aims to provide chamber members with comprehensive solutions and expert advice to negotiate the evolving landscape of international trade.

‘We are thrilled about our partnership with North East England chamber,’ said Rebecca George.

‘Over the past four years we have witnessed a gradual decline in demand for export documents generally, and Certificates of Origin specifically. The British Chambers of Commerce has confirmed a global downturn in the demand for export documents.

‘For many years we have offered a Certificates of Origin service to our members, but it’s no longer practical or cost-effective do this on our own – that’s why we have decided to partner with North East England so that we can continue to offer this service to our members who need it.

‘This partnership ensures our members have access to the expertise and resources necessary to thrive in the international trade arena,’ she said.

John McCabe, the chief executive at North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘As the leading North East organisation for international trade, we are proud to offer Isle of Man chamber members access to our multi-disciplinary suite of international services, knowledge and expertise.

‘We offer a comprehensive range of trade services, including export documents, international trade consultancy and BCC-accredited training courses.

‘We have also recently introduced a service for those outside of the chamber network, which further enhances the offer to Isle of Man businesses.

‘Collaboration is key to business success and we are proud to work with our overseas colleagues to secure a brighter, stronger and united future for chamber members.’