Coronavirus: Isle of Man Government reveals £100m support package

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Strand Street in DouglasImage source, MANXSCENES
Image caption,
On Monday, Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan announced measures to help businesses and workers

A £100m package of measures to assist businesses and workers during the coronavirus pandemic has been announced by the Isle of Man government.

It includes a new unemployment benefit, employer wage support and grants for the self-employed.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said the "unprecedented" measures were to help islanders in their "hour of need".

But he warned that the support package would "not necessarily protect every business and save every job".

"We must think, act and work together as an island nation to overcome this unseen enemy," he said of Covid-19.

Because reduced economic activity means less tax revenue flowing into government coffers, Mr Cannan said the measures could be sustained for six months.

A welfare benefit of £200 a week will be available from 6 April for those who have lost their job as a result of the outbreak.

The island's utility suppliers have made a commitment that "nobody can be cut off" over the next three months.

And measures are in place to prevent people or businesses from being evicted, Mr Cannan said.

Businesses in most sectors will be able to access a £280 weekly payment, for up to 12 weeks, for every full-time equivalent employee.

They will also be able to defer on VAT payments due over the next three months.

Following the cancellation of the Isle of Man TT last week, the government announced a grant scheme and national insurance holidays for businesses related to the tourism industry.

Mr Cannan said it had "become clear that we need to do much more" and £3,000 grants would now be available for the self-employed within those industries and employees in the "smaller retail industry".

A pot of £5m has also been set aside for businesses in the tourism accommodation sector, while a further £3.5m has been found to help companies looking to change their "operating model" during the outbreak.

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