Following Manx Gas’ announcement that gas prices will rise by a further 43%, the Manx gov has said it is working to target financial support at those most in need.

This increase comes on the same day the Bank of England warned the UK is heading for a recession and increased the base interest rate to 1.75%.

In a statement that offers few clues for what support is to come, Chief Minister Alf Cannan said: ‘We are facing severe energy pricing fluctuations and this most recent rise in gas prices will undoubtedly lead to concern among many in our community. The Isle of Man Government is taking this situation extremely seriously and is acutely aware of the looming challenges facing families and businesses this winter. I wish to reassure people that work is taking place to understand how support can be targeted to best protect the community through this period of significant economic turbulence.’

And Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson added: ‘‘We have been closely monitoring the inflationary pressures on the cost of living for individuals and businesses throughout the year, with the expectation that further support would be required as we approached autumn and winter.

‘Government has already provided support packages totalling more than £6.3 million during the first six months of 2022. Treasury is currently working on a range of options for more targeted support to help those most affected by the rise in energy costs and these will be announced at the October sitting of Tynwald.’

Gef’s View

We don’t often comment on news stories, but in this instance, we, like many of our readers, are looking at today’s announcement and worrying about how we are going to pay our bills, heat our homes and feed ourselves and our families. Today’s increase in gas prices, we barely need to remind anyone, comes before the increase in electricity prices we all know will come in the autumn.

Targeted support is all well and good, but we need to be realistic here, there needs to be drastic action. The UK is heading into a recession and inflation is tipped to top 13% by the end of the year.

Jersey acted this week with a mini budget, outlining what it will do to help its residents, our gov must act and follow suit. If necessary, Tynwald should be recalled over the summer, with the gov bringing forward a package of measures to help yes first the most vulnerable, but also the many hard working people of this island, through the winter.

The gov has within its power the ability to lower income taxes, to raise minimum wages or even to use the reserves to plug gaps in Manx Utilities’ to keep down prices as much as possible.

In years gone by, we have heard the island’s reserves is our ‘rainy day fund’, well Mr Cannan, Dr Allinson, we hate to break it to you, but it’s coming down in buckets.