The Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce has requested an urgent meeting with the government to discuss its concerns over rising costs.
The Chamber, which represents companies that employ 20,000 people or half of the island’s private sector workforce, said rising fuel, freight and other costs have created a “perfect storm” which means businesses are now under more financial pressure than at any other time during the pandemic.
This view was supported by the results of a recent Chamber of Commerce survey of the rising costs of doing business on the island.
A total of 157 local businesses participated, of which 35% said they saw significant reductions in revenue compared to 2019.
Soaring fuel prices are the most important factor, according to the survey, with 80% citing as having the biggest impact, followed by the cost of freight, raw materials and wages.
Chamber chief executive Rebecca George said: “Businesses, especially small businesses that are at the heart of our community, need the government’s help to weather this storm.
“Our research has shown that businesses are crumbling under a rising cost tide, with the latest survey results revealing that many are now also under extreme pressure from soaring energy and freight costs, as well than the increase in wages.
“The majority need to raise prices, and many are also considering cutting services to cut costs or considering layoffs.
“All of this has a domino effect on other companies in the supply chain and on the economy. It is also important to consider the human cost in terms of health and well-being.
“Customers, suppliers and anyone who depends on businesses that play such an important role in the local community are also affected – so this is not just a business issue.”
The Chamber has since drawn up a plan to help businesses in the meantime. His plan includes targeted support for the food supply chain, hospitality and small retail businesses, to address labor shortages by calling for the introduction of a work visa of 12 months and programs to encourage economically active people to work, the abolition of the second job tax, the introduction of a subsidy on transport costs for retail and hospitality businesses in Manx, and the extension of the 12.5% VAT rate for hotels.