The Economic Recovery Group (ERG) has announced a series of new and extended measures to support local businesses in light of continuing pressures around COVID-19.
A grant will be offered to all businesses that have suffered a 25% downturn in the qualifying period, in the catering, hospitality, retail (non-essential), and lifestyle sectors with commercial premises equivalent to four years’ business rates, which is intended to provide support for premises costs for the period of December 2021 to March 2022. Those businesses without commercial premises can claim a single grant payment of £4,000 to cover the same period.
The Strategic Capacity Scheme (SCS), which supports tourist accommodation providers; the Coronavirus Business Adaption Grant, which supports a broad range of sectors to enhance their offerings; and the Domestic Event fund will all be extended until March 2022. The Domestic Event Fund has also been enhanced to include single venues within the hospitality sector.
For those allied tourism and travel businesses, with staff other than the owners, the Coronavirus Recovery Scheme (CRS) will be extended until March 2022.
There will also be an additional £3,000 one off grant will be available for retail (non-essential), catering, hospitality and lifestyle sector businesses in January 2022 that can demonstrate a 25% downturn in business for December 2021.
These new measures add to the range of support available for local businesses and employees, including:
- The Disruption Loan Guarantee Agreement which provides up to £60 million through five of the Island’s commercial banks, 80% of which is guaranteed by the Isle of Man Government.
- The Working Capital Loan Agreement which offers credit facilities of up to £10 million, 100% of which is guaranteed by the Isle of Man Government, which acts as a further safety net for those businesses who cannot access working capital via their banks or do not qualify for assistance via the Disruption Loan Guarantee Agreement. Businesses are encouraged to contact the Enterprise Support Division if they need advice on collating the information required for the loan applications. Financial assistance will be available to eligible businesses to assist with accountancy services up to £500.
- Enhanced Incapacity-Related Social Security Benefits are available for people unable to work due to illness or because of isolation due to Coronavirus with access to Income Support for those who may not qualify, or need additional support.
Treasury Minister David Ashford MHK, said:
‘We have been engaging with a number of business representatives throughout the pandemic and have been reviewing their feedback in line with the current pressures exacerbated by the latest COVID developments. The Economic Recovery Group met yesterday and have implemented a series of changes to current funding measures to ensure our businesses get the support they need to keep delivering services for the Isle of Man.
‘We know the next few months are going to be tough on certain sectors especially, and have made a commitment to continuing this support into spring next year and today’s announcements represent a further package of more than £9 million of direct support.’
Alongside the additional measures there are a number of incentives to help support consumers and businesses. The LoveIOM Card went on presale last week with a launch incentive, encouraging companies and people to support hospitality businesses and accommodation providers through purchasing a gift card to spend locally. The initiative is boosted by ERG investment, with top up incentives and mid-week dining offers created to drive interest outside of the traditionally busy periods, with over £500,000 worth of funding allocated for January.
The Domestic Events Fund also provides support for local hospitality businesses offering a maximum of 80% of the total costs associated with the development of domestic focused events with the remaining costs covered by the event organiser.
Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:
‘Our retail and hospitality sector has faced a difficult couple of years and we hope these new measures will offer security and support for our local businesses. As we move towards the Christmas period I want to reassure people that by following the new Government guidelines we should all be able to have a fun and safe party season this Christmas.’