Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK today provided an update on the measures being taken to protect the Isle of Man economy and the support being provided to businesses and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister Cannan was speaking a week after announcing a £100 million package of measures designed to provide economic resilience, and issued new information on deferring rates payments and mortgage holidays.
Minister Cannan said: ‘Since I spoke a week ago today, events have happened at a rapid speed and we have, to all intents and purposes, closed down large parts of our domestic economy.
‘By staying at home you will all play your role in suppressing the virus, and you are also helping to protect jobs and the economy.
‘The quicker we can suppress the virus, the quicker we can bring about a controlled return to work, and the quicker that we can get our economy functioning again.'
He added: ‘As we close down parts of the economy we must recognise that we need to take further action to support those who, through no fault of their own, are facing an abrupt cessation of their income.
‘There are now four clear layers of support that provide you and your companies with additional support: the Salary Support Scheme, the Business Interruption Grant, that can also be accessed by the self-employed, the Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance, for which anyone in any sector who finds themselves out of work can apply for and finally, if all else fails, you will be caught by the existing welfare system.’
In addition, the Treasury will be writing to all households from this week to outline how those facing genuine financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic will be able to defer payment of their rates.
The letter will contain advice for those unable to pay on contacting the rates collection team and discussing their options. For those who currently pay by direct debit, this will include either suspending payments or temporarily reducing payments to a nominal amount until their situation improves.
The local authorities are aware of the arrangement and are working alongside the Treasury and Department of Infrastructure to ensure funding is available to maintain vital community services.
Further support for residents will come from the seven Island banks that offer personal mortgages.
Isle of Man Bank, Santander International, HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, Nedbank Private Wealth International and Cayman National Bank have all agreed to provide a Mortgage Repayment Holiday to existing customers who have fallen into financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The support package will offer relief to homeowners who will be able to suspend repayments for up to three months on a residential mortgage.
Minister Cannan added: ‘This morning some of our leading businesses and executives came together to launch the Manx Solidarity Fund to help people in need and assist businesses get back on their feet. The public sector is coming together, the private sector is coming together and the community is coming together.
‘This Island is now looking to suppress this virus to protect our health and save lives. We are in a fight to save lives but we are also in a fight to protect our economy and save jobs. I am asking you to join that fight – please now focus on staying at home to suppress the virus, protect lives and protect the economy.’
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, said: ‘I am delighted that the local banks have all stepped forward to provide a three month repayment holiday for personal residential mortgages.
‘Many families and individuals will have no doubt had a change in their personal circumstances as a result of the current crisis, and these positive actions shows the importance of the banks in supporting the local community and customers during this unprecedented period’.
To find out about the full package of measures in place to support businesses and individuals during the coronavirus pandemic, visit gov.im/covid19support
To find out more about the Mortgage Repayment Holiday, contact your mortgage lender directly to discuss.