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MHK brands Love IOM scheme a ‘complete failure’

But enterprise minister says he is 'satisfied' with the gift card initiative

Efforts to spark more interest in a government gift card launched off the back of Covid-19 could be stepped up this winter.

That’s the pledge from the enterprise minister who has fielded criticism of the Love IOM initiative.

In Tynwald yesterday (18 October) some Tynwald members questioned whether the scheme – which has seen 2,500 cards sold in just over a year – was worthy of continuing:

The Love IOM scheme was an Economic Recovery Group Project which the Department for Enterprise was tasked to develop to encourage spending in the local economy post Covid.

Information released as part of a Freedom of Information request shows that:

  • Between 1 September 2021 and 26 August 2022 there were 2,350 Love IOM cards purchased
  • Between 1 September 2021 and 26 August 2022 there was £94,753.25 credited to the cards – which averages £40.32 per card

In Tynwald yesterday the enterprise minister confirmed – to date – 2,500 cards had been sold and £100,000 has been credited to them.  

Government has spent £200,000 of taxpayers' money building the Love IOM platform and £14,000 incentivising spend on the cards.

But with half a million pounds set aside for the five-year initiative they are not figures which have impressed Rushen MHK Juan Watterson:

The Love IOM scheme has previously been criticised by some members of the hospitality industry.

Tim Cowsill is the head of the Business Agency.

Last week he told an Economic Policy Review Committee that the Love IOM concept had been a ‘challenging project’:

Enterprise Minister Lawrie Hooper told Tynwald he is satisfied with the project as an initiative and is hopeful it will be more successful in the run up to Christmas.  

The Department for Enterprise is now responsible for marketing the gift card scheme.

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