Action on Poverty slams CM’s ‘brazen’ budget
Action on Poverty has called the Chief Minister’s budget speech “nothing short of brazen”, adding it has ignored private sector workers, pensioners, the unemployed, the disabled and those caring for others at home.
In response to Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s budget speech on Tuesday, the group has raised concerns hardship “will come knocking more and more on the doors of the up-till-now middle-income workers in our community.”
A spokesman for AOP said Mr Picardo has no interest or empathy for the poor, despite their ongoing campaign for social security reform.
“Indeed, Community Care is only the first layer to feel it,” the spokesman said.
“Unless government deals with the need for social security and welfare reform, the problems will pile up towards the middle.”
“Government may feel the people of Gibraltar are unable to see beyond the four hours of self-praise and wool-pulling in the Chief Minister’s parliamentary interventions, yet it is obvious to the rapidly increasing numbers of ‘malcontents’ of this society that something is very wrong indeed, and it is not all down to Brexit or to Covid-19.”
“Were it not so laughable, for the head of government to say the average wage in this community is £32,000 per year is offensive and seriously out-of-touch, implying the reflection of a situation that too many will recognise as wholly unreal in their every day.”
“Indeed, to inhabit a Never-Never Land of ample Ministerial comfort and to inflict a significant price hike for many households on essentials such as electricity is to know little about the lives of ordinary people who need to work to put food on the table every week of every month of every year.”
“The Chief Minister needs to get a grip on the realities, though we regret that the signs are meagre.”
The group said they continue to work to alleviate the “steady destruction of people’s living standards”.
“Whether in dealing with private sector workers and pensioners, the unemployed, the disabled, those who work full-time in the home looking after the ill and elderly with no recognition or recompense, Government ignores them in this Budget and rides roughshod over their interests and concerns.”
“It is clear in which direction Mr. Picardo is travelling; and it is not in that of the elderly or, oftentimes, the young, increasing numbers of whom are surviving on the precipice of this society.”
“And yet, given the scenario the Chief Minister is laying down, more and more ordinary, middle-to-working class people need to be prepared; because they may find themselves caught in a situation that only a government willing to distribute wealth fairly can begin to rectify.”
“Austerity is Mr. Picardo’s pet elephant in the room.”
“Action on Poverty will continue to stand up for those Mr. Picardo and his government have chosen to abandon. And the moment he is willing to pay attention, we will sit down to talk. But we are not holding our breath.”