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Chamber welcomes ‘cautious’ budget

The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the Gibraltar Government’s ‘cautious’ budget and its call for a leaner, more productive public sector.

The Chamber said it was now - “more than ever” - crucial for the public sector to increase its productivity and reduce its expenditure.

“In this vein, it welcomes the Chief Minister’s appeal to civil servants ‘to be ready to do more, go further, work harder, be more efficient and wield greater influence than ever in building our common future’,” it said, citing Fabian Picardo’s budget speech.

“The Chamber has long advocated for reductions in recurrent expenditure and so endorses the government’s commitment to being cautious in spending, more prudent in saving and more astute in achieving a reduced debt to GDP ratio in the future and looks forward to progress on these three measures.”

“In these changing times it is crucial that Gibraltar’s economy not only adapts its various sectors as circumstances dictate but also that it is streamlined and more productive.”

“In conclusion, the private sector, the government and the public sector all need to work in tandem for the common purpose of Gibraltar’s continued economic success in the years ahead.”

In a statement, the Chamber said it was good news that no material increase in business costs were announced in the budget.

“Ahead of the budget the Chamber board had lobbied the government strongly not to increase social insurance costs,” it said.

“Further to this the Chamber would like to work with the government to review and overhaul the social insurance system as and when the government has received the relevant legal advice.”

The Chamber also commended the government for listening to its appeal to delay the introduction of compulsory pension schemes in the private sector during this financial year. “The uncertainty facing Gibraltar’s economy means that the private sector must not be burdened with additional costs if it is to remain competitive and adaptable to a changing economic climate,” the Chamber said.

The Chamber also welcomed the new incentive for start-up ventures.

It said creating a tax credit of up to £55,000 per year for the first three years of operation for new ventures would hopefully attract new companies to Gibraltar and also encourage new local start-ups.

When taken together with other incentives which the government had introduced in the last few years, Gibraltar could be viewed as “a very attractive place to start and operate a business”, it said.

“The Chamber will ensure that it promotes these incentives as widely as possible to highlight the attractiveness of Gibraltar as a pro-business jurisdiction,” the statement added.