Government support for local economy

22 May 2024

Following engagement with industry, the Department for Enterprise has confirmed it will be bringing forward a number of measures in support of the local economy.

This follows conversations in recent weeks between the Department for Enterprise and Treasury with businesses, including representatives from the Licenced Victuallers Association (LVA), Restaurateur’s Association and the wider hospitality sector, regarding ongoing concerns and challenges facing the local economy.

Following these discussions, the Department has considered and approved a number of initial measures, supported by Treasury and the Economic Strategy Board, which align to the long-term economic ambitions of the Island and seek to provide a level of support to the local economy, including hospitality and retail, in the short term to ensure they are able to maximise trade ahead of a busy TT period and in doing so, serve our Island at a critical time and secure much needed income.

This includes the launch of a new dedicated online support resource for the local economy, and the introduction of a new temporary financial assistance scheme to be administered over the TT period, enabling businesses to claim additional payments to give to staff working in excess of 37 hours, and help further incentivise workers undertaking additional hours during this important and busy period for everyone.

Tim Johnston MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:

‘From the dialogue we have had with industry in recent weeks, it has become clear that information and support for the Island’s local economy needs to be more accessible. It is also clear that there are a number of areas that are not fully understood consistently by all, or areas where further changes have been suggested which are simply either not possible or do not make overall economic sense.

‘To try and assist, the Department for Enterprise will be bringing forward a dedicated online resource through Business Isle of Man, in addition to providing enhanced information, practical support and guidance on further support as and when it comes forward so that everyone can benefit from what is available in the interests of fairness. 

‘The temporary financial assistance scheme announced today seeks to relieve some of the pressure facing these businesses regarding the demand for staff in the short-term by recognising and reinforcing the opportunity to work over this period.

‘We are committed to continuing to work with industry to consider further support proposals including looking to the winter period across challenges in workforce and skills, overheads, income generation and investment into premises. Our longer-term strategic approach will be led by the forthcoming Local Economy Strategy and will include measures which look to extend the tourism season and support businesses to run events throughout the winter which will stimulate footfall.

‘We will continue to work with and monitor the health of the sector as best we can over the coming months to understand how we can best support the industry in a way which is fair, sustainable and affordable and will contribute to the Island’s economic prosperity.’

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Treasury Minister, commented:

‘In the spirit of our commitment to supporting the hospitality sector given current concerns, the Department for Enterprise and Treasury have engaged in collaborative talks to assess prevailing challenges and explore avenues for assistance in key areas.

‘Both Departments recognise the challenges, however, are also clear that any measures considered have to be fair and in doing so, must not cause market distortion, and must be aligned to the ambitions of the Island’s long term Economic Strategy.'

Further information regarding the dedicated online resource and temporary financial assistance scheme will be announced later this week.

Additional measures supported by the Economic Strategy Board to support customer-facing businesses in the short-term include:

  • Expansion of the existing Seasonal Worker Incentive and Employee Relocation Incentive to now include individuals working in retail and hospitality as eligible workers.
  • Additional funding to support 50% of the costs in relation to Hospitality Qualifications under the Liquor Licencing and Public Entertainments Act 2021, with training for all ‘Responsible Persons’, ‘Door staff Members’ and, subject to ongoing consideration of proposals, ‘Authorised Persons’. This is an increase on the 30% historically available through the Vocational Training and Assistance Scheme and will be provided directly with a much simplified process.