Isle of Man Budget Recap

On the morning of 22nd February 2017, Michael Estella, Stephen Jackson and Phil Butler of Harding Lewis attended the IOM Business Network’s Annual Budget Breakfast, an event that is always well attended by the local business community and one that was buzzing with conversation about the new administration, the challenges that lay ahead and the steps that have been taken to tackle what is a truly a monumental task.

The event was opened by Rachael Hooper, the Chairman of the IOM Business Network who thanked everyone for attending the final event under her tenure as Chairman.  Well done Rachael – she has done a fantastic job.

The new Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK was then welcomed to the stage to provide a brief overview of his budget and his plans for the future. Stephen Jackson has provided us with a commentary on some of the key issues in the budget.

‘Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK’s first budget signifies a change in direction to the previous five years.  There is great news for working families with the increase in the personal income tax allowance lifting 3,300 of the lowest paid in our society out of the tax net and providing a £200 boost to most other taxpayers.

As far as the business community is concerned it is very much ‘business as usual’ with very little change to National Insurance contributions this year (although there will be changes for the self-employed in 2018) and a signal that there is no change planned to the Island’s successful 0/10% tax rate which, along with the continuance of the Enterprise Development Fund should continue to bring investment and jobs to the Island.

However, one thing that must be addressed if the Island’s economic growth is to continue, with unemployment at a very low 1.3%, is who will fill the jobs that these new companies will bring?  The work permit system that has served us well over the years may need to be looked at to make sure that sufficient numbers of skilled migrants find their way to the Island, whilst also ensuring that it isn’t abused.  With our nearest neighbour possibly just 2 years away from leaving the EU, the potential effect this could have in reducing the flow of migrants should also be considered and hopefully some of the new £1 million Brexit Fund will be spent on resolving this.

Although I gave up cycling half my lifetime ago as soon as I learnt to drive, I think that the new cycle benefit in kind exemption is a great idea and I hope that it is taken up by as many companies and employees as possible.  It is a small step but it could be a significant one in encouraging us all to be fitter and greener.’

If you would like to talk to one of advisors about how the budget might affect you or your business then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 679524 or drop us an e-mail at email@hardinglewis.com.

We are happy to help.