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Gov't 'should have done more to protect electricity customers'

Chamber of Commerce believes a different fiscal approach would have shielded against price hike

Government should have done more to protect domestic and business users from the latest electricity price rise.

That's the view of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, which represents the Island's business community.

Manx Utilities confirmed earlier this week that a price hike of almost 55% will be brought in in two stages, with the first increase coming into force from 1 April.

MU cites a 500% increase in wholesale prices over the last 18 months as the reason for the rise.

In a statement, the Chamber of Commerce says: "Chamber acknowledges the pressure that is being put upon on all energy suppliers due to global factors, and recognises that local residents as well as businesses and their employees  will be affected by the latest electricity tariff increases, and the shock in the level of increase in particular.

"However, the Island’s leading business organisation feels that Isle of Man Government should still have done more to protect domestic and business users from the latest hike.

"Chamber adds that last week’s IoM Budget ignored the likely cumulative impact on the Island’s small businesses caused by rising energy costs plus the minimum wage rise above the rate of inflation, which are all under government’s umbrella as a policy maker or investor. Proactive economic modelling is needed to assess cumulative impacts on the local economy (where consumer spending is declining or static and costs are rising disproportionately) is vital in current economic conditions. These impacts don’t affect all sectors, but they are hugely felt in those directly serving the local economy.

"Chamber also reiterates one of its major concerns in response to the IoM Budget 2023/2024 regarding the increasing cost of Government’s payroll and pensions expenditure (up £50million since the 2022/2023 Budget). 

"A different approach to its priorities regarding fiscal policy, says Chamber, could have allowed Government to do more to protect residents, employees and businesses from electricity and gas tariff increases."

Manx Radio has contacted Isle of Man Government for a response. 

In a response, received on 9 March, Treasury Minister Alex Allinson said: "This years’ Budget was drawn up in full recognition of the volatile economic situation across the world and the effect this may have on our local economy.

"Despite the recent challenges of inflation and workforce shortages our business community have shown an impressive level of resilience, something that government is keen to continue to support.

"Treasury and the Department for Enterprise are in regular conversation with a range of business representatives and will be discussing the concerns raised by the Chamber of Commerce when they next meet on Monday, 13 March."


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