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Treasury Minister leads programme of engagement with Island business community 21 December 2012

TREASURY Minister Eddie Teare MHK has embarked on a comprehensive programme of engagement with the local business community as part of preparations for next year’s Budget.

Meetings have taken place with representatives from a cross-section of industries to discuss the Isle of Man’s economic outlook for 2013 and beyond. Treasury is currently working up a Budget framework and projections for the next three years to assist Government departments with their long-term planning.

The focus will again be on progressing Government’s core priorities of stimulating economic growth, rebalancing Government finances, and protecting the vulnerable. Minister Teare and Treasury colleague Phil Braidwood MLC, together with Alan Crowe MLC, the member of Economic Development with responsibility for financial services, have so far held 40 meetings with key individuals across economic sectors including financial services, engineering, manufacturing, e-gaming, construction, retail and real estate.

Those views will be fed into the Budget process alongside a wide range of other public and social considerations, as Treasury seeks to strike a fair balance for the people of the Isle of Man.

The Minister said:

‘Preparing a Budget is a complex challenge, with a multitude of domestic and international factors to take into account. We always try to look at the bigger picture and act in the best interests of the Island as a whole when drawing up our proposals. The business community obviously has a vital contribution to make and Mr Braidwood and I have gained a valuable insight into current thinking during the course of our many meetings.Treasury has always taken soundings from local businesses when preparing a Budget and this year I have sought to formalise those arrangements by leading a proactive programme of engagement. Working with the private sector to create the right environment to attract new business and help existing sectors to grow is crucial to the Island’s future prosperity.’

Mr Teare said that while Government’s budget strategy remained on target, difficult decisions would still be needed in order to complete the rebalancing process by 2016 as planned. External factors, such as reduced economic activity in the UK and the threat of a triple-dip UK recession, would also have an impact on the Island, the Minister explained.

He commented:

‘We have made solid progress in our work to put public finances back on an even keel, but tough political decisions will have to be made in the years ahead. There is certainly no room for complacency as Government finances are very different now as a result of the changes to the VAT sharing agreement with the United Kingdom. One of the biggest challenges is to make the necessary changes to address our fiscal situation while avoiding a slash and burn approach that could potentially destabilise a Manx economy that is still showing positive growth.’ Mr Teare added: ‘We are out in the community listening to people’s views, concerns and aspirations, and gathering information that will help to shape our efforts to secure the Isle of Man’s long-term sustainability.’

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