Coronavirus: Isle of Man unemployment doubles due to outbreak

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image captionUnemployment on the island now stands at 2% of the economically active population

Unemployment has more than doubled on the Isle of Man since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said about 460 more people had applied for jobseeker's allowance during the pandemic.

The number of people looking for work now stands at 850, which equates to 2% of the economically active population.

Since the island recorded its first coronavirus case on 19 March, 158 people have tested positive.

A total of 1,143 people have so far applied to the government for direct financial support through the newly created Manx earnings replacement allowance.

Set up to help those who are experiencing disruption to their employment during the outbreak, payments are due to start being made "in the next week", Mr Cannan said.

Meanwhile, 2,327 firms have applied for £3,000 grants through the coronavirus business support scheme. More than £1m has been paid out to date.

Businesses not currently eligible for the grants will be able to apply for financial assistance by writing to the chief financial officer after Easter, outlining how the support would "sustain jobs" on the island.

Mr Cannan said: "The overall cost of the support packages are substantial and so is the loss of revenue and income that we are potentially facing.

"We must recognise that, while this is difficult, while some might feel frustrated, we must nevertheless be responsible with our public finances.

"It is vital that we have the financial ability to get back up and running."

The payments are part of a £100m package of measures unveiled to support businesses and workers during the crisis.

Several sectors of the island's economy have been forced to shut down as a result of emergency measures to stop the spread of the virus, including parts of the hospitality and construction industries.

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