A new ferry terminal for the Isle of Man, the Gibraltar Island Games on schedule and Jersey inflation worries

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Isle of Man

Unemployment in the Isle of Man dropped 0.1% to 0.7% during March with 314 islanders looking for work. At 2.6% and 5.6% the SW of England and the North East had the lowest and highest unemployment rate in the UK respectively. The UK unemployment rate stands at 3.9%, the lowest since 1975.

Average earnings in the Isle of Man are £573 per week. In the UK average earnings grew by 3.4% or by 1.5% after inflation. The Isle of Man’s average property price is £253,000.

The Manx government has been granted planning permission by Liverpool city council for a new £31.3m ferry terminal. Subject to Tynwald approval of funding, the facility should open in late 2020. It will be built at Princes Half Tide Dock, about 730m from the existing terminal at the city’s Pier Head.

A 125-year-old marine biology lab which was closed and partially demolished in 2006 will be turned into a hotel, flats and exhibition centre. Developers want to build a 14-bedroom hotel, 73 flats, a restaurant, bar and exhibition centre on the site, which would also have parking for 159 cars across five levels at the former facility in Port Erin.

Gibraltar

Unemployment in Gibraltar is c1.0% with 57 Rock inhabitants looking for work. At 2.6% and 5.6% the SW of England and the North East had the lowest and highest unemployment rate in the UK respectively. The UK unemployment rate stands at 3.9%, the lowest since 1975.

Average earnings in Gibraltar are c£569 per week. In the UK average earnings grew by 3.4% or by 1.5% after inflation. Gibraltar’s average property price is c£620,000.

The Gibraltar Government has confirmed that work to complete venues ahead of this summer’s Island Games is on schedule. Five venues are still under construction with the Island Games due to open on July 6th. The Lathbury and Europa Sports complexes are scheduled to be completed by the end of June with the Special Olympics Complex due to be finished this month. The rifle shooting range and the clay shooting range will be completed in May.

In its recent budget, the Gibraltar Government has allocated c£82m for capital projects on the Rock.

Channel Islands

Unemployment in the Channel Islands is low, sub c2% with c1100 islanders looking for work. At 2.6% and 5.6% the SW of England and the North East respectively had the lowest and highest unemployment rate in the UK. The UK unemployment rate stands at 3.9%, the lowest since 1975.

Average earnings in the Channel Islands are c£700 per week. In the UK average earnings grew by 3.5% or by 1.6% after inflation. The Channel Islands’s average property price is c£480,000.

Although inflation in Jersey has fallen from a high of 4% in December, at 3.6% it was almost double the UK’s rate of 1.9% in March. Increases in the cost of tobacco, motoring and household services were partly to blame, as well as the cost of housing which jumped by almost 5%. Jersey’s government will look at ways of encouraging home ownership, improving the supply and standard of properties and making renting more accessible, as part of a review of the island’s housing market. A recent report found 7,000 new homes needed to be built in the next decade to meet forecast demands.

In Guernsey, islanders face a 6.8% increase in electricity bills following months where electricity has been generated on the island. This is because the 32 mile undersea cable between the island and Jersey needs to be replaced after it failed in October.

Guernsey’s population increased by 0.52% – or 325 people – to 62,734 over the year ending June 2018; the largest increase in total population since 2010.

Winds of force eight with severe gales of force nine due to Storm Hannah caused some sailings of the Condor Liberation – the round trip between Poole and the Channel Islands – to be cancelled. With Jersey expected to have up to 15 cruise ships this summer, the island’s tourist industry is hoping Hannah will be the last storm to visit.

On infrastructure, Guernsey will spend £200m updating its IT systems after UK company Agilisys Limited was announced as its preferred bidder. Other developments on the island include a new quarry planned at the Chouet headland, as the existing site at Les Vardes nears the end of its life. The site was designated as a mineral safeguarding area in the Island Development Plan because of the strategic importance of quarrying to Guernsey. Chouet would have a lifespan of at least 40 years, and about five million tonnes of aggregate could be extracted.

In the air, Guernsey’s States voted against a feasibility study to investigate extending the island’s runway – instead switching funding to work on contingency options relating to the island’s sea links. On Alderney, States owned airline Aurigny is closing its operations control centre and outsourcing to Gatwick; seven jobs will go.

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