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Media statement re DfE announcement about support for hospitality sector | May 2024

28 May 2024

For the past 18 months Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce has been campaigning for Government to provide more support for our members, and the wider hospitality sector and small high street businesses. We therefore broadly welcome the measures recently announced by the Department for Enterprise.

Hospitality is a sector that plays a vital role in the local economy (local industry figures show it contributes significantly to the Government’s tax receipts of up to £96million) and to the quality of life for residents and the visitor economy. It’s in this context we are pleased that the Department and Treasury has acknowledged businesses in this sector are facing very challenging times.

We need to spend more time analysing the finer details of how this new support package will address the issues identified by our members regarding legacy debt and increasing costs. Having said that, we welcome the scheme and the speed with which it has been put in place. Initial feedback from members shows that the application process is simple and straightforward.

One issue of concern which has been raised already by our members is that there would be a stronger incentive for businesses and employees if the support was tax and NI free. Currently, it has been estimated that approximately one third of the money paid in support is recouped in taxes, which makes it more of a disincentive. We also have some concerns about whether the support will provide sufficient help to small, independently owned businesses and not just larger operators.

Looking at the overall picture, we feel that the action taken by DfE and supported by the Economic Strategy group is a positive first step and welcome news for the hospitality sector – but there is room for improvement, and making sure this support continues to be delivered ASAP, and with minimal glitches or delays due to red tape and admin, must now be the priority.

Time will tell regarding how effective the support will be in terms of helping hospitality businesses to meet the challenges they are facing.