We are supporting businesses, says govt

By Gemma Nettle   |   Reporter   |
Friday 15th April 2022 1:00 pm
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Coronavirus daily press conference - pictured is Education Minister Dr Alex Allinson (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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The government has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting businesses and targeting long-term economic stability.

It follows a recent member survey by the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce which raised concerns regarding the increase in costs incurred by businesses due to recent global economic developments.

The Chamber said rising fuel, freight and other costs had created a ‘perfect storm’ that means businesses are now under more financial pressure than at any other time during the pandemic.

It recommended targeted support for the food supply chain, hospitality and small retail firms, addressing workforce shortage by calling for the introduction of a 12-month worker’s visa and schemes to encourage economically active people into the workplace, the removal of the second job tax, the introduction of a freight charge subsidy for Manx retail and hospitality businesses, and the extension of the 12.5% VAT rate for hospitality.

Minister for Enterprise Alex Allinson said: ‘The Treasury Minister and I met with the Chamber of Commerce in what was a productive discussion regarding the range of issues raised by their members about doing business in the Isle of Man. Work to this effect is already underway across a number of fronts discussed, including the recent introduction of the Seasonal Worker Visa route and relocation incentive for tourism and hospitality workers to address skills shortages in this sector.

‘It’s clear that we are facing another period of uncertainty. As the world recovers from the pandemic, conflict in Europe continues and a significant inflation cycle is challenging our cost of living. We are committed to stepping up to respond to these challenges where we can and strengthen consumer confidence.

‘I am grateful to the Chamber of Commerce for communicating the concerns of their members and we will continue to work closely and collaboratively with them, the local business community and other key stakeholders to consider targeted, evidence based support where appropriate, which aims for long-term economic sustainability and stability for our island.’

Treasury Minister David Ashford added: ‘International developments have caused unrest in the global business economy, and Treasury is working across government to consider the implications these will have on residents of the Isle of Man, and to understand whether there will be a need for measures to be put in place over the short to medium term.

‘In all cases we must remain realistic and cautious, and it is of the upmost importance that any government intervention does not cause a distortion of competition or create market inefficiency.

‘Anything we do also has to be affordable and sustainable in the long term and I will be bringing forward a statement to April’s Tynwald on the overall position and our responses.’

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