Mixed reception for a new aid package for the hospitality industry


Representatives of the island’s hotel companies have warmly welcomed the government’s announcement of additional help for their business sector.

Geoff Joughin, president of the Licensed Victuallers Association, worries the ads could go to the wall and said he and his business colleagues were “not in love” with the measure which they said did not go far enough.

He spoke after the announcement of the Business Premises Support Program – a subsidy payment based on the annual cost of business premises tariffs – will be extended to eligible businesses as the island moves to unrestricted business terms. over the next three months.

For each of the months of June, July and August, eligible applicants will receive a scholarship equivalent to their annual tariff bill for each of their business premises. The support will be provided in a lump sum payment to cover the three months to streamline the process for applicants.

To be eligible, companies and freelancers must declare that their turnover has been significantly impacted by at least 25% compared to May 2019 and must operate from commercial premises.

Mr Joughin and other pub executives recently participated in sometimes heated meetings on the issue and met with government officials.

He told the Examiner: “We’re not too much in love with the deal.”

He said the deal “looks okay on the surface,” but insisted that the reference to a 25% cut in sales for May was not going to be helpful for many people in the industry. industry. He added: “We have to really think and look at the big picture and see where we go from there.”

Mr Joughin, owner of the Albert Hotel in Douglas, said: “It is very difficult for the Chief Minister to find an answer, but we have to find an answer for our industry because it needs help.”

His thoughts were echoed by another Douglas licensee pleading with the government to help people in the hospitality industry “get by” this year.

Andy Saunders, who runs Quids Inn, says salary support programs help his employees but not the business as a whole.

Speaking of the new measures introduced by the government, he said it was not good enough.

He said, “I don’t want a profit, I want to survive. Let’s just get through this difficult time. I run one of the most popular bars on the Isle of Man and I’m having a hard time ”.

Mr Saunders, Mr Joughin and other concerned licensees said the locals could “go to the wall without support”.

A government spokesperson said that, based on the expected number of applicants and average bills, this new hospitality support is expected to provide around £ 3million to eligible hotel businesses.

Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK said: “At a time when our island would normally welcome thousands of tourists to our shores, we recognize that the hotel sector continues to be affected by the residual effects of the coronavirus.

“As part of our economic recovery, we are working on stimulus activities that will provide lasting support to our national economy, and we look forward to launching them shortly, but we also appreciate the concerns that our hotel companies have raised regarding a more immediate sustenance to enable successful negotiation over the next three months of the transition period.

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