Former chief minister confirms holiday cottages were 'hit hard'
Former chief minister Howard Quayle’s tourism business did apply for financial support because of Covid-19.
He's confirmed the company made an application when holiday cottages he is a joint owner of were 'hit hard' by border closures.
The admission follows criticism of the Department for Enterprise which has been ordered to release information about whether or not he benefitted from Coronavirus support schemes.
A Freedom of Information request, submitted in June last year, sought to find out if the then chief minister had received any money between April 2020 and June 2021.
That request was blocked by the department which cited exemptions – something which has now been overruled by the Information Commissioner.
The DfE has now been ordered to revisit its response.
You can find out more HERE.
Mr Quayle claims that the first time he became aware of the request – and response from the Information Commissioner – was after Manx Radio published the story on Friday.
In a statement he says his business interests on the Island have 'never been a secret' and have been in the public domain since he was first elected in 2011.
He's confirmed he is one of the owners of a self-catering accommodation business but says he is not involved in the day to day running.
Mr Quayle adds: "Like many other businesses on the Island it was hit hard by the closing of the Island's borders.
"Although the company did not apply in the earliest stages once it became clear that the pandemic would last a considerable time an application for support was made under the Coronavirus Strategic Capacity Scheme (tourism accommodation).
"I feel certain the application would have been considered and dealt with like any other on the grounds of eligibility/meeting relevant criteria and the full details will be rightly available when published by the Department for Enterprise.
"Naturally on any occasion when the question of support for holiday let businesses was discussed in the Council of Ministers I made my interest clear and left the room something which was also minuted."
In his response Mr Quayle did not disclose how much financial support he received or whether he had paid any of it back – both questions the original Freedom of Information request sought to answer.