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Opinion & Analysis

All about the money

By Roy Clinton
Fundamentally it’s all about the money.

In this election you have a clear choice between:

A: the continuation of the GSLP/Liberal financial fantasy, secrecy and chaos under Fabian Picardo as both the Chief Minister and Minister for Public Finance; or
B: the restoration of value for money, transparency and financial order under a new GSD Government with a competent and dedicated Minister for Public Finance.

We need to get Gibraltar’s public finances back on track and rebuild for the future which the GSLP/Liberals have so recklessly mortgaged and burdened us with generational debt.

The GSD have a clear programme to clear up the financial mess the GSLP/Liberals have created by focusing on Transparency, Value for Money, Waste Abuse and Corruption and Managing Debt.

We will ensure that you know where every penny of your money is spent. We will tear down the jungle of over 40 companies created by the GSLP/Liberals through which they have hidden debt and channelled spending outside the control and scrutiny of Parliament. This would include Community Supplies and Services Limited created under the so called GSLP National Economic Plan.

All this will involve an investigation and audit of all monies spent through the web of companies and the filing of full accounts at companies house. We will give the Principal Auditor the necessary powers to oversee Government companies and the resources to complete the Government audits that remain outstanding since 2016!

Value for Money is defined by the UK National Audit Office as follows:
Economy: – spending less; Efficiency: – spending well; and Effectiveness: – spending wisely.

We will establish a Public Accounts Committee system as to follow up reports by the Principal Auditor where matters have come to light that have cause to question whether the taxpayer has received value for money. The GSLP will not do this as confirmed by their manifesto!

The GSLP/Liberals have stated that they would not participate in such a committee in which case we would seek to appoint a majority of independent persons to serve on such a committee. Gibraltar is the only UK Overseas Territory without a Public Accounts Committee contrary to the principle of good public finance scrutiny and oversight.

We will instil greater financial discipline, prudence and control so as to end waste, abuse and corruption.

There will be revised anti-abuse laws on who can apply for public contracts to safeguard transparency and fairness. We will create a register of Interests for Public Contracts and establish a contracts award panel made up of senior civil servants and independent members. All contracts above a prescribed value will be subject to value for money supervision.

We estimate that the gross direct and indirect public debt of Gibraltar stands at close to £1.9 billion.

Immediately on being elected we will commission an independent public debt audit of all Government owned or controlled companies and publish this. This will give us a true picture of where Gibraltar stands and plan accordingly.

In order to do this we will create an office of debt management within the Treasury so as to forecast requirements and create a credible strategy to manage debt levels and the repayment of debt so that services are not compromised.

Our public finance plan is aimed at restoring trust and financial order, and to ensure better collective policy making, the role of Chief Minister and Minister of Finance will be undertaken by different people.

The Gibraltar Government cannot print its own money so any money it spends is either borrowed, raised by taxing individuals or business, or the proceeds of the sale of property.
The GSLP/Liberals boast of spending hundreds of millions but have borrowed more than any Government in Gibraltar’s history and as Sir Joe Bossano confirmed on GBC there is now no money left.

They now want to carry on spending using your money from the Savings Bank in a way that is unaccountable through companies such as Community Supplies and Services that are not even owned by Government.

You have a very simple choice in this election the continuation of financial chaos, secrecy and fantasy under the GSLP/Liberals or order, fairness and transparency under a GSD Government.
It’s all about the money.

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