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 Loss of MGP Would Spell Doom for Tourism

Douglas East MHK Brenda Cannell will be seeking further compensation for the tourist industry if the Manx Grand Prix is cancelled owing to the ongoing threat of foot-and-mouth. Mrs Cannell believes the event should go ahead and claims that it could be policed and marshalled successfully.

She will take her fight for tourism to Tynwald today (Tuesday) when she will ask Treasury Minister Richard Corkill whether it is the intention to submit a further raft of compensation packages to the industry if the August event is cancelled and, if so, when the decision will be taken.
Talking about the cancellation of the TT she said: 'It has affected the entire industry. If they are going to remove the last little bit of cream from the cake in the MGP, it will be enough to see some of the businesses off completely.' She believes any compensation packages should at the very least mirror those which were announced following the TT cancellation.

The Tourist Accommodation Support Fund Scheme, which benefited members of the accommodation sector, was approved at the May sitting of Tynwald. A further package, which will aid businesses that can produce evidence of deep and lasting damage owing to the reduction in trade, is to go before July's sitting.

Mrs Cannell believes the government should continue to look at the prospect of picking up any interest on loans that have had to be taken out by small businesses struggling because of the races being scrapped. Meanwhile, Onchan MHK Geoff Cannell will also be increasing the pressure on the Council of Ministers to make a decision on the MGP.

He is due to ask Chief Minister Donald Gelling when he will be in a position to announce whether the races can go ahead. Mr Cannell believes a decision should be made at the end of this month because people need to know as soon as possible.

He is also due to hit back at criticism of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Alex Downie by Sefton Hotel boss Chris Robertshaw, a member of the Department of Tourism and Leisure's marketing partnership. TT commentator Mr Cannell is due to ask Tourism and Leisure Minister David Cretney whether he agrees with Mr Robertshaw's views on the TT and MGP and whether Mr Cretney's department believes the criticism of Mr Downie was justified.

Mr Cannell said: 'This question goes back to Mr Robertshaw's vitriolic outburst at Mr Downie. 'He virtually accused him of bully boy tactics [over the TT decision],which I resented as a member of the government. 'I think the decision was taken after every possible angle was explored. It was most uncalled for and most unprofessional.' He said he also found Mr Robertshaw's comments 'petulant'.

Pressure is now mounting for a decision to be made on the MGP in August following the cancellation of its two major support events, the Manx Classic Weekend Trial and the Manx National Two-Day Trial.

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