Isle of Man - economic growth and business opportunities - Business Works
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Isle of Man - economic growth and business opportunities

by John Shimmin MHK, Minister for Economic Development Last year the Government of the Isle of Man forecast that the island's economy would grow by up to 4% in 2013-14 and the evidence to date indicates that this will be achieved, says John Shimmin MHK, Minister for Economic Development. And we now expect we will maintain this level of growth in 2014-15 and expect to see this continue each year in the run up to 2020, with the e-Business sector being a key driver.

Other sectors which we expect to perform well include high-tech manufacturing and some parts of financial services, such as the international life insurance sector.

This growth will generate substantial additional Government income, which will be instrumental in funding public services on the iland and helping to maintain low levels of taxation for all. I have listed the key sectors and their developments below.

Emerging Sectors

E-Business, which incorporates e-Gaming, is the fastest growing part of economy. It continues to grow at over 10% a year and accounts for around 14% of National Income and 1500 jobs.

To achieve this potential, the Department is working closely with the private sector, focusing on skills development and international marketing to help local businesses win new revenues and to attract further new businesses to the island.

The Manx Educational Foundation’s intention to buy the Nunnery to establish a private ICT and business education and training centre offers great potential to aid e-Business growth. In addition, the Isle of Man Government has launched a new initiative with the private sector to review the school curriculum so that our young people can gain the ICT skills they will need to flourish in future.

The Isle of Man Government reiterated that it has taken a further step towards exploring the opportunities for generation of offshore wind and tidal energy and is now inviting expressions of interest from parties seeking to develop offshore energy production in Isle of Man territorial seas.

The Department conservatively estimates that the installation of one typically sized wind farm alone in the Isle of Man’s territorial seas could bring in £5m per year.

Visitor Economy and Motorsport
The Visitor Economy maintained a similar level of performance in 2013 compared with the previous year when we saw good growth in terms of both leisure visitor numbers and visitor spend.

The principal success in 2013 was the inaugural Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling, incorporating the new Classic TT, which saw visitor numbers increase from 8915 in 2009 to 13,407 in 2013.

Established Sectors

The Island's manufacturing sector has continued to grow, driven by the high-tech manufacturing sub-sector which primarily serves the aerospace and oil and gas industries.

The sector is projected to generate over 80 additional jobs every year for the foreseeable future. This is helping create significant local demand for the skilled engineers needed.

The Department welcomes the announcement of nearly £1m in investment for the Department of Education and Children to transform the Hills Meadow Training Centre into a dedicated engineering training centre of excellence.

In an effort to boost skills, Government and the private sector have also worked hard to modernise the 2-year engineering apprenticeship programme and has increased student numbers from 12 to 18. This will double to 36 from September 2014.

Financial and Professional Services
The Department has been working very hard to support financial and professional services, which remains the Island's principal source of jobs, GDP and taxes. Overall, financial and professional services continued to grow in 2013 and further growth is predicted in 2014.

As part of this, the international life insurance and professional services sectors continue to perform well. At the same time, some areas have reduced in terms of employment over the last year, notably banking and fiduciary sectors. These changes are being driven principally by global economic forces, not factors unique to the Island. Indeed, the Island is faring better than many of our competitors.

The Department has been working particularly hard with the banking sector, the Channel Islands and the UK Treasury in order to protect our interests as the UK plans its new banking regime to split retail and investment banking in line with the Independent Commission on Banking.

2014 will also be an important year in terms of automatic exchange of information, with FATCA and related work being implemented in concert with the local industry.

The aircraft and ship registers are forecast to continue to grow and therefore stimulate further economic growth. The Isle of Man's registries continue to provide world class service to their growing global client base and help to generate substantial revenues for our financial and professional services businesses.

In 2013 the Ship Registry grew at twice the rate of the world's fleet - a performance which has elevated the Isle of Man to 14th place (as at January 2014) in the table of global shipping registers by tonnage with 40% of the fleet Asian-owned. Just three years ago, the Isle of Man did not even feature among the world’s top 20 registries.

The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry is widely acknowledged across the business aviation industry as the best registry in the world to deal with. The number of high quality business jets on the register continues to grow rapidly and it is now firmly established in the top 10 registries in the world by numbers of business aircraft on its register, ahead of countries such as France.

For more information about the Isle of Man and business opportunities, please visit:

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