The State of Britain

Gaming firms hedge their bets in Gibraltar, more tourists visit Jersey and Channel Islands air links improved

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Isle of Man

Unemployment in the Isle of Man remained at 0.7% during May with 305 islanders looking for work. At 2.4% and 5.4% 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 3.8%.

Average earnings in the Isle of Man are £724 per week which compares with UK average earnings of £623. The Isle of Man’s average property price is c£253,000. Inflation decreased slightly in May to 1.8%, down from 1.9% in April.

The living wage on the Isle of Man has risen from £8.61 to £9.76 per hour. This compares with £9 in the UK, rising to £10.55 for those living in London. The rate is not enforceable but the Manx government has pledged to maintain this level of pay in the public sector at a cost of c£200,000. The minimum wage of £7.85 per hour for workers aged 18 and over is mandatory.

On development, plans to regenerate a 125 year old marine biology lab at Port Erin have been submitted. 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.


Unemployment in Gibraltar is c1.0% with 57 Rock inhabitants looking for work. At 2.4% and 5.4% 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 3.8%.

Average earnings in Gibraltar are c£569 per week. In the UK average earnings are £623 per week. Gibraltar’s average property price is c£620,000.

Gaming company bet365 – which employs c500 people in the Territory – is relocating most of its operations to Malta. The number of jobs the company expects to retain in Gibraltar is not yet known. Staff have been offered redundancy or the option of moving to Malta. By expanding its Maltese operation bet365 will ensure post-Brexit access into the EU single market for the firm’s Europe-facing business. Gibraltar has secured continued access into the UK market after Brexit so maintaining a presence in the Territory has benefits. In terms of economic development, gaming companies generate wealth via corporate taxes, rents and utilities, and employees spend much of their disposable income in Gibraltar. Likewise, Sovereign Insurance Services, Gibraltar’s corporate and international insurance broker, has opened an office in Malta in order to serve clients in Gibraltar with EU risk exposure.

A regasification terminal which will store LNG shipments delivered by sea before turning the liquefied fuel back into gas ready for use in the Gibraltar Electricity Authority’s new power station is now operational. The terminal on the North Mole has a life expectancy of 30 years.

Gibraltar welcomed the first AIDA cruise ship with the arrival of AIDAstella. The liner is one of seven sphinx class cruise ships and has a capacity of 2,700 passengers and 620 crew. Also on shipping, a planned ferry between Gibraltar and Algeciras has made an inaugural test. The proposed service is part of the government’s no-deal Brexit planning but the delay to Gibraltar’s departure from the EU has allowed more time to explore different solutions.

Channel Islands

Unemployment in the Channel Islands is low, sub c2% with c1100 islanders looking for work. At 2.4% and 5.4% 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 3.8%.

Average earnings in the Channel Islands are c£720 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £762 whereas the Northern Ireland had the lowest of £513. In the UK average earnings grew by 3.3% or by 1.5% after inflation.

The Channel Islands’ average property price is c£480,000. Following 313 transactions, Jersey’s property prices increased by 2% in the first quarter to an average of £499,000.

The number of people visiting Jersey rose 3% in 2018 to 725,000 according to figures from Visit Jersey. On the island, tourists spent £268m which was 10% more than in 2017. The island hopes for 1m visitors by 2030.

A list compiled by the Tax Justice Network, has named Jersey (7th), Guernsey (15th), and the Isle of Man (17th) as some of the most aggressive corporate tax havens in the world. The index contradicts the European Union’s removal of the Channel Islands from their tax haven grey list in March and was ‘lacking credibility’ according to Guernsey’s government. Jersey Finance said the island meets – or in some cases exceeds – international tax standards of transparency and cooperation.

Taxes on motor fuel raises c£20m a year in Guernsey, c5% of the States’ total revenues. More efficient cars and electric vehicles are resulting in decreased fuel revenues which have prompted the government to look at a proposed system of motor tax based on distance travelled rather than the amount of fuel burned. Also in Guernsey, new mobile technology will provide data speeds of over 400mbps on some mobile devices and Alderney and Sark now benefit from indoor 4G coverage.

Jersey Airport was the fifth worst for delays in the UK last year, with passengers kept waiting for an average of 16 minutes according to the Press Association. Despite this, a number of new routes are operational to the Channel Islands. Loganair has launched new flights from Guernsey to Bournemouth and from Guernsey to Edinburgh. Channel Islands airline, Blue Islands, has started a twice-weekly route to Liverpool, following the launch of daily flights to London Southend and the expected launch of a Newquay service in June. Also, talks between the States of Guernsey and Flybe to continue its route to and from London Heathrow have taken place. Since April, 2,837 passengers have used the service, justifying discussions about extending the schedule into the winter months.

On development, Jersey’s Fort Regent could be turned into a hotel and leisure complex. The early 19th Century landmark which overlooks St Helier is not available for some functions because of safety concerns. It has remained open for its day-to-day use as a leisure centre. In Guernsey, improvements have been proposed for La Vallette in St Peter Port, as part of the States Seafront Enhancement Area Programme.