Gef’s Daily Roundup

Fast Craft Return Delayed

The Steam Packet has announced a delay to the start of Manannan’s fast craft season, with the Ben-my-Chree to continue to operate lifeline freight and passenger services between Douglas and Heysham.

Due to the continued closure of the Manx borders, Manannan will no longer start her seasonal services on March 25. Daily Ben-my-Chree services to and from Heysham will continue, with Manannan and Arrow due to cover the Ben-my-Chree’s overhaul period scheduled for mid-April.

All passengers booked on Manannan sailings up until Tuesday May 25 will be contacted and offered a full refund or a transfer to Heysham services as appropriate. Fast craft sailing schedules will remain under regular review.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Since the start of the pandemic, we have been dedicated to maintaining lifeline links between the Isle of Man and the UK, and have provided excess freight and passenger capacity throughout this period.Manannan is being dry docked in March so that she will be ready to operate as soon as the border re-opens. In the meantime, we will continue to transport essential food and goods to our island community.’ 

Sailings beyond May 25 will continue to be monitored and may also be subject to change, depending on travel restrictions.

MNH Bids Rejected

Treasury Minister Alf Cannan has confirmed which bids for funding he rejected from Manx National Heritage. These included £5m for a new store at Balthane, £450,000 for maintenance to the Great Laxey Wheel, £409,400 for a new entrance to Cregneash and £94,666.67 for digitising Isle of Man Newspapers historic editions.

Dishy Rishi Dishes It Out

The UK Chancellor has delivered his second Budget, here’s some of the highlights:

  • Furlough extended until September with businesses to contribute from July

  • Self employed grants also extended

  • National living wage up to £8.91 from April

  • Reduced hospitality rate of 5% to remain in place until September (same on island)

  • 95% mortgages will be available from next month

  • Corporation rates to rise in 2023 from 19% to 25% on profits over 25%

  • Fuel duty and alcohol duty frozen

  • £20 per week boost for universal credit extended six months