Tynwald committee probes £27m government film investment losses – BBC News

The Isle of Man government has been criticised for losing millions of pounds of public money by investing in the film industry.

Nearly £60m was pumped into a variety of projects from the island’s Media Development Fund (MDF) between 2007 and 2016.

But it has emerged only £32m has so far been returned from the investments.

MHK Kate Beecroft told an inquiry the matter had “not been to the benefit of the people of the island”.

A Manx treasury spokesman said it would be “premature” to comment until “all the evidence” had been considered.

The investments included the 2008 feature film Me and Orson Welles, starring Zac Efron, which lost the government more than £9m.

Money ploughed into the animated feature Chico and Rita also lost the government £2.8m.

Ms Beecroft, who campaigned for a parliamentary committee to investigate the project, said: “The pockets of the taxpayer are not so deep that they can afford to have them emptied on projects that should been given proper scrutiny by the parliament before being started.”

Mrs Beecroft said the MDF had been “handled very differently” from other government investments.

“There was not the normal governance arrangements surrounding it,” she said, adding that financial managers “weren’t given any specific targets which they had to achieve”.

The fund had been managed on behalf of the Manx government by production companies CinemaNX and Pinewood Film Advisors.

Mrs Beecroft gave evidence to the Tynwald’s Public Accounts Committee on Friday.

The committee will examine whether changes to “governance procedures” will be needed as a result.

Figures show losses of more than £20m of investments had been written off while the government fund was under the management of CinemaNX and a further £6m was lost under Pinewood Film Advisors.

While many film investments made a loss, a £12m investment in Pinewood shares netted the Manx Treasury £10m profit when sold between 2015 and 2016.

Source: bbc.com

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