Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

'Difficult' Manx budget revealed

Allan Bell MHK
Mr Bell said there were still good news stories amongst Manx companies

Isle of Man Treasury Minister Allan Bell has said this year's budget was the most difficult of his career.

Mr Bell told Tynwald his budget was prepared against a backdrop of the worst global economic position seen in the past 60 years.

He said he had managed to avoid tax rises and public service cuts, but could not rule them out for the future.

Mr Bell said the island's economy was stronger and more diverse than in any previous slow-down.

'Difficult times'

It was not in recession and there were still good news stories amongst local companies, he added.

"To the outside world my message is plain. Look at our 25 year record of unbroken growth.

"Look at our success and be part of it, because when the world starts to recover it will find the Isle of Man ready and able to be part of that recovery," he said.

"To our island I say that even though there may be difficult times ahead, I strongly believe that if both Tynwald and our community work together in common cause, putting aside our differences, we can come through this period stronger than most."

Mr Bell said there would be no change in income tax rates, allowances, reliefs and thresholds.

The basic pension and pension supplement is set to increase by 5%, and Personal Allowance Credit for people on low incomes is to increase 10% from 500 to 550 per person or 1,100 per couple.

His budget also included a 127m investment programme to help maintain activity and jobs in construction, and 22m for the local authorities housing programme.

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