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Strengths and Challenges

The focus of Our Island Plan is to improve the quality of life for everyone living on our Island.

As we continue to deliver against our strategic programmes, we will likely face several significant challenges and recognise the strong link between a successful and stable economy, the ability to deliver sustainable Government services and quality of life and care for people.

In addition, the findings from the work underpinning the Island’s Economic Strategy have further informed our Island Plan and we must now ensure we are aligning our policy responses to the challenges and strengths outlined by this report into the Isle of Man’s current economy; looking at the wider global opportunities and threats.

The key challenges and strengths outlined in the Island’s Economic Strategy help drive the Island Plan’s focus and approach and are summarised below:

Key strengths

  1. GDP growth across the decade and leader in the Crown Dependencies in most years

  2. Strongest Government reserves when compared to peers in 2019

  3. High 4G coverage and fibre passing over 50% of premises

  4. 84% of businesses surveyed recognised technology is integral to their business. (8-10 on 10pt scale)

  5. Host to a large number of prominent and high quality global brands in each of its key sectors

  6. Well respected internationally

  7. A more diverse economy than peer tax neutral islands

  8. 96% surveyed strongly agree that IoM is a safe place to do business (2019)

  9. Publicly stated net zero target

  10. Wealth of natural resources

  11. A large level of untapped economic value driving opportunities

  12. Proven ability to regulate and grow niche or new sectors

  13. Visitor spending is up over the decade; increasing proportion of leisure visitors

Key challenges

  1. Growing wealth disparity across households

  2. Cost of living in the isle of Man is high compared to the UK and is not fully offset by higher average wages

  3. Ageing population - over 65s account for 22.1% of the population (2021) - higher than peer jurisdictions.  Likewise, Islands dependency ration is higher than others at 58%

  4. High level of economically inactive people in the population - 49% (2021)

  5. Consistent excess levels of vacancies (through either skills or resource gaps) are inhibiting economic growth

  6. GDP growth has mainly been driven by only two sectors - insurance and eGaming, both of which are highly concentrated due to consolidation and face headwinds

  7. Sustainability and energy policies are not yet established, yet important to the business community; GHG emissions per capita exceed the comparator group

  8. Business confidence surveys show relatively low satisfaction with quality and cost of business related services (2017-2019)

  9. Low volume of high quality commercial facilities

  10. Government is not perceived to be digitally enabled and is suboptimal in its use of data

  11. Stakeholder feedback indicated that innovation and business dynamism were not a strong feature of the IoMs business culture

  12. Regulation and red tape (particularly in financial services) and access to capital were indicated as key obstacles for growth and innovation