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Chamber of Commerce members vote 'no confidence' in Budget

98% say it won't help their business

A group representing the Island's businesses has said it has no confidence in this year's Budget.

The Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce has published the results of a survey of its members, which they say represent 22,000 employees here.

The chamber asked its members three questions and received 201 responses.

  • 98 percent said the Budget won't help their business
  • 96 percent don't think it will help their employees.
  • 95 percent believe tax rises should have been matched with corresponding savings in government expenditure.

It also says over half of employers don't believe the childcare support in the Budget will help their employees.

The chamber is now seeking urgent action from the government.

In particular, it wants a treasury minister and team that understands business, our economy and its structure, as well as the size, cost and scope of government to be tackled.

To re-establish stability, confidence, and optimism for businesses, it's calling for:

  • Chambers members have overwhelmingly declared a vote of no confidence in the 2024 budget. We need to turn this around, urgently. Responsibility for the Economy should be clearly defined via a Strategic Board of public and private sector members with a Minister reporting through to Council of Ministers. The remit would be to drive and deliver economic growth via macroeconomic modelling and impact assessments carried out by economists (following suit with other jurisdictions such as Jersey & Estonia) whilst ensuring mandatory oversight on key economic drivers.  
  • In the meantime, the Island urgently needs a Treasury Minister and Team (Political and Officer) that understands business, our economy, and its structure, when taking decisions that affect future growth, government spending, investment, and the island’s competitive advantages.  
  • The size, cost and scope of government needs tackling, urgently. The preference of many members is a move to a single legal entity.  
  • Ministers and Departments must be financially responsible and accountable with mandatory oversight on spending. Respecting their budget by prioritising essential and core services, taking a “back to basics” approach, whilst improving agility, productivity, and service 

The chamber's also asking ministers to be prepared to 'listen and understand', not 'listen to answer'.

You can see its full letter here and anonymised responses from its members here.

The Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson says he's concerned by the letter, but says Tynwald members approved the Budget, and he respects the view of Tynwald.

Dr Allinson says: "From the start of this administration there has been increased collaboration with the private sector, consultation around the Economic Strategy and the Island Plan, and the incorporation of private sector expertise; both through the Department for Enterprise 
agency model and the appointment of high profile specialist advisers to a growing number of departments and boards.

"We have also worked together closely on a range of initiatives to support businesses on the Island and only this week met to finalise a long term skills strategy for our Island."

You can see his full response here.

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