We need ‘clear plan of execution’ on Economic Strategy, says Chamber

Claire Watterson

The Chamber of Commerce says there needs to be a clear plan from the government on how it will implement its Economic Strategy.

Chief Minister Alfred Cannan unveiled the strategy to Tynwald in July, including a plan to increase the population to 100,000.

Entitled Our Island, Our Future: Isle of Man Economic Strategy, the document sets out the government’s vision for the next 15-20 years.

Other targets include a GDP of £10 billion and creating 5,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

Chamber of Commerce vice-president Claire Watterson said: ‘While we are supportive of the direction and ambition of the strategy, we need to see a clear plan of execution, including some deliverables, action and measurable improvement.

‘While it does a good job of laying out the complex problems we are facing and signposting a strong and positive direction of travel, there is a danger this could turn into an endless stream of consultations and reports if there are not concrete proposals showing how we will get there.’

She said ministers would need to be ‘consistent’ in their delivery and holding each other to account.

‘The background KPMG research showed a need for more highly-developed leadership skills across all sectors on the island, especially if we are to deliver collaboratively against such an ambitious plan,’ she added.

‘We see the plan as a good first step to identifying issues that chamber has been lobbying on for some time. Our members across all sectors are keen to work closely with Government in developing the ‘how’ element of the strategy to ensure delivery and execution.’

The strategy will be debated by Tynwald in November.

On public finances, the plan sets a target of generating more than £200 million of additional annual income by 2032, to reinvest in services and improve the quality of life for all residents.

It also aims to ‘substantially decarbonise the services parts of the Island’s economy by 2030’, as part of an overall reduction of 35% in the Island’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Cannan told Tynwald: ‘This is a significant moment for our island as we set out our high level ambitions for investment, incentives, and ideas that will help change the shape of our economy and bring greater opportunity for the people of the Isle of Man.’