£180,000 of taxpayers’ money spent on the Love IOM card

But customers only upload £67,000 of their own money to spend

More than £180,000 of taxpayers’ money has gone to companies tasked with rolling out a gift card scheme to try and get people to spend in the local economy.

But customers using the Love IOM initiative have credited their accounts with less than half that amount since its launch.

The information was revealed as part of a freedom of information request by Manx Radio.

The Department of Enterprise has appointed KBH Limited to provide the service designed to encourage local spending after the peak of the pandemic – the company has been paid £171,349.98.

The marketing firm was tasked with developing a platform to support an “incentive solution” – consumers being asked to purchase a gift card and top it up with cash to spend at select retailers.

A statement from the DfE said:

“KBH’s platform offered the flexibility to incentivize spend in different ways, at different times, as well as the adaptability to allow the department to expand the solution for future initiatives as they see fit.

“This project was born out of the economic stimulus group in 2021 and was to provide a platform for a number of years to have flexible options when needed.”

As part of the service agreement, KBH Limited is required to maintain and manage the project for the duration of the agreement – ​​it was also required to provide marketing services for six months after launch.

Just under £67,000 was credited to Love IOM cards in the seven months from September 1 – across 1,778 cards – this was topped up with a further £12,692 of government ‘incentive’ money.

The department claims that KBH Limited has met all service requirements and contractor deliverables to the required standard.

£8,911.71 was paid to 16 other suppliers involved in the initiative.

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