The State of Britain

Confirmation that the Rock’s gaming industry is impacted by Brexit and Guernsey’s economic growth slows

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On jobs, Bet 365 has confirmed it will retain c100 jobs on the Rock. The company announced in May that it would increase its operations in Malta in order to guarantee access to EU markets. Bet 365 intends to maintain dual regulation and licensing by both Gibraltar and Malta. Headcount in the firm’s Gibraltar offices was 500 but by relocating significant operations to the island this will drop by c80%. More generally, unemployment on the Rock dropped from 57 to 37 over the month.

Despite the setback in the gaming industry, Gibraltar has recently enjoyed relative economic success. This has caused problems for ‘UK’ employed staff – once the mainstay of the economy – who have been impacted by the austerity measures introduced by the UK government in 2010. Employees at MOD Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Defence Police and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment have seen their real pay fall in real terms and fail to keep pace with Gibraltar Government salaries.

Channel Islands

Economic growth in Guernsey was 1.7% between 2017 and 2018, according to new figures from the Island’s statistical office, a drop from the previous year’s 4.6%. The total GDP for the island was £3.3bn (£3.2bn if GVA – which includes taxes and subsidies – is used). On a GVA per capita basis this is £52,500 which is 65% greater than the UK and 29% larger than neighbour Jersey. The finance sector accounts for 41% of the economy. Productivity decreased by 1% from 2017 to c£100,000 per worker. Median earnings as at 31st March 2019 were £33,530 and unemployment is 2.7%.

In Jersey, average weekly earnings were 2.6% higher than in June 2018 driven largely by the public sector (4.8%). The increase was 0.9% lower than the previous period which meant average earnings were 0.2% lower in real terms than in June 2018. Average weekly earnings were £770 per week.

Also in Jersey, the latest House Price Index has shown quarterly prices up 2% which translated to growth of 8% on an annual basis. Over the quarter, transactions were up 19%, the highest figure since at 2010. At £512,000, Jersey prices are £128,000 higher than neighbour Guernsey and £283,000 higher than the UK. Guernsey prices were 0.6% higher than the previous quarter and 4.2% higher on an annual basis. Guernsey recorded the highest number of second quarter transactions since 2012.

In Guernsey, there were 152,462 visitors in Q2, an annual increase of 2%. The half year figures are better though, showing growth of 8% to 184,805 visitors. The increase has been largely driven by a strong cruise ship season supported by increased staying visitors travelling by ferry and air from France, Germany, North America and Australia. Likewise in Jersey, visitor numbers in H1 were 327,000, up by 27,000 or 11% growth.

Isle of Man

The annual rate of inflation on the Island increased in July 2019 to 2.1%, up from 1.8% in June 2019. Key drivers of inflation were recreation and culture, education and transport. The biggest jump was travel costs up by 24.2% and internet subscriptions also increased by 12.5%. The unemployment rate for July 2019 is 0.8%, an increase of 0.1% on the previous month June.

The Manx government is seeking expressions of interest in a new marina, but creating a second marina in Douglas as part of a pier project could lead to the scaling back of a £100m scheme in Ramsey. Moorings at existing marinas in Peel and Douglas can currently accommodate 230 boats, both are owned by the government and are oversubscribed. Two projects have already been mooted for the island, a 400-berth marina, residential units, hotel and yacht club near Ramsey harbour, and at Douglas Bay, a large pier which could accommodate cruise ships with berths for up to 50 yachts.

A new government unit could be created to look at these developments after delays to the Douglas promenade upgrade has identified a need to assess large infrastructure projects. The £25m two-year promenade redevelopment, which began in September 2018, is already about 10 weeks behind schedule and has caused serious disruption to businesses.