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Costa pools ideas to analyse Brexit impact

Following the UK referendum result, Minister for Small Business Neil Costa has invited the Chamber of Commerce, the GFSB and other stakeholders to analyse the possible consequences of Gibraltar leaving the EU, in his budget speech this week.

He also spoke about his other responsibilities.

On the postal services he said the RGPO will introduce the latest postal track and trace system (called IPS.POST) this summer, this will meet its mandatory obligations for data exchange.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), together with the Ministry and the Chamber of Commerce and the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses will be in a position to publish an amending Bill to the Fair Trading Act 2015 in the last quarter of this year. Mr Costa hopes this “will iron out the small creases that we have witnessed in the first eight months since the commencement of the Act.”

He notes that under the Fair Trading Act, new guidance codes have been set for tourism service providers, real estate service providers and for businesses handling client monies in Gibraltar. The Codes set out industry best practice guidelines and non-compliance will be investigated, and where necessary appropriate action taken, by the OFT.

In this Financial Year, Mr Costa said work would start with the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses and the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce to consider the elements of an incubator scheme for start-ups, where start-ups can be nurtured for the first year of their existence.

“This will be particularly useful for start-ups in the software and technology industry, which we will seek to further nurture and I am personally thrilled to pursue this particular project,” said Mr Costa.

On the Health and Safety Inspectorate Mr Costa said a further two posts will now be advertised bringing the complement of the Inspectorate to five operational posts. In addition, a new programme of inspections is being considered and meetings with contractors are taking place to ensure good working practices.

Mr Costa told Parliament that the next meeting of the Health and Safety Advisory Council will take place in September.

“This is only the beginning of a series of measures that will be introduced to improve Health and Safety procedures. The next stage will involve work to define the responsibilities of management toward Health and Safety,” said Mr Costa.

On Industrial Tribunal reform, he notes that the debate on the merits of the Employment Amendment Bill under which the Employment Tribunal reform will be ushered later on this month. He said: “the consultation in respect of this crucial reform is now complete” and that the Government is ready to proceed.

During his speech Mr Costa also mentioned Brexit, he said: “Given that no further steps towards separation from the EU will take place until September at the earliest, this gives the Government, Parliament and all sectors of the community the time and the space to carefully consider all of our options. Firmly establish Gibraltar's position with the UK Government and stress the importance of full access to the Single Market, and, also for us, to continue the vital work of looking at all possible models.”

“It is time, Mr Speaker, for cool heads, sober analysis and a lot of hard work” and “for this House to lead and also to raise the quality and the tone of our national and international debate,” he added.

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