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Minister Speaks on Job Losses 24 October 2003

The announcements this week of job losses in the finance industry involving CMI and Abbey National Offshore are, said Treasury Minister Alan Bell “a further reflection of the ongoing difficulties affecting financial institutions worldwide, and emphasises the need for the Isle of Man to retain and increase its attractiveness as a business location."

Mr. Bell went on to say, “Both these announcements had been signposted earlier this year. In both instances it has been decided after ongoing reviews that operational support within the respective companies will be reorganised and rationalised."

The changes at Abbey National Offshore will result in 19 roles being made redundant on the Island. At Clerical Medical Offshore 45 Isle of Man staff are affected.

"Both restructurings" says Mr. Bell, "have been driven out of economic necessity and the need to reduce costs. They are neither a reflection of deficiencies in the operational environment in the Isle of Man nor of staff capabilities here. The changes will produce leaner, more efficient structures which will hopefully help to maintain the competitiveness of the two companies in the international market place".

"There are a number of factors impacting upon business operations at this time” said the Treasury Minister. “There is the stagnation of the global economy. There is also the ongoing push towards greater efficiency within multinational companies. These decisions remind us - if indeed we need reminding - that the Isle of Man, as an export-led economy, is not immune to these forces. What is critical for our future well-being is to do as much as we can to ensure the attractiveness of the Isle of Man to inward investment. This is, of course, the priority of our economic and taxation strategies."

Mr Bell added: "These job losses represent only a small portion of the total finance sector workforce of nearly 9,000. However, the situation must be very unsettling for the staff concerned and they have my best wishes in securing alternative employment. For its part, Government will endeavour to pursue policies which secure the foundations of the economy and so continue to provide for employment into the future."

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