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IoM: Brexit A Journey Into Uncharted Territory

by Amanda Banks, Lowtax.net, London
25 April, 2016

The Isle of Man has published an interim report on the potential consequences for the island if the UK votes to leave the European Union.

The 77-page document is the result of input from across the whole of the Isle of Man Government, and includes a summary of some of the material published by the UK Government, in particular on the mechanics of negotiations for withdrawal and options for the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Chief Minister, Allan Bell, said: "A Brexit vote on June 23 would take the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man on a journey into uncharted territory, so there are many questions that just cannot be answered at this stage."

"Much would depend on what the UK could negotiate in place of EU membership, and how the island as a Crown Dependency would fit into that new relationship. If the vote is to leave the EU, there will be a need for us to stay very close to the UK negotiators to ensure that the best interests of the Isle of Man are known and protected."

Bell added: "We have already been active in promoting awareness of the Isle of Man's position and in gathering information and intelligence both on and off island. In publishing this first interim report, the Council of Ministers is sharing what it knows with the public, so that local views on this major issue can be as well informed as possible."

"The report will hopefully give some food for thought for those people who live in the Isle of Man – or perhaps for Manx people currently living in the UK – who may be eligible to vote in the referendum, and for all who want to understand what Brexit could mean for the island."

The island's limited relationship with the EU allows for free trade in manufacturing, agriculture, and fisheries products with the EU. Because of this, these sectors could be likely to experience the most significant effects of a Brexit, although a lot will depend on what new relationship with the EU the UK and the Isle of Man can negotiate, the report says.

The island's current relationship with the EU does not extend to service industries, such as the finance sector, which generate the bulk of its national income and employment however.

Bell concluded: "Going forward there will be continued political engagement with figures in the Leave and Remain campaigns, and with the other Crown Dependencies. There are also plans for consultation with members of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce on potential impacts on their businesses, as well as further work on the options for the UK's relationship with the EU post-Brexit."

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