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GCA criticise entertainment licence hike

Johnny Bugeja

A hike in the price of entertainment licence fees by the Gibraltar Government has drawn a scathing reaction from the Gibraltar Catering Association who questioned the timing of this decision. 

The annual entertainment fees for bars and restaurants in Gibraltar will increase from £7.50 to £125 as from July 1. 

This would include live and recorded music, public dancing and singing or entertainment, but would exclude cinematography except for transmission via the TV. 

This licence includes background music played at restaurants as well. 

“The timing of this measure is not exactly appropriate, especially in this current climate,” the GCA President, Gino Jimenez, said. 

“Everything adds up and this is an added cost for businesses.” 

“It is arrogant for them to say most businesses will be able to afford this, but a lot of us still have a very steep hill to climb as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

“Although saying that, £7.50 was ridiculously cheap and the Government has to recover its costs as well.” 

Mr Jimenez said that no consultation was held with businesses before this decision was taken, adding that the GCA had been in contact with the Musicians Association of Gibraltar (MAG), who also raised their concerns. 

Members of both associations have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Restaurants had to remain closed during the height of the pandemic and have slowly began recovering their regular clientele, getting table bookings and benefitting from the influx of tourists visiting Gibraltar. 

For MAG, live music came to a halt to ensure public health guidelines were being respected and it is only after the Rock has eased out of lockdown measures after the second wave that live music performances have begun across various venues. 

Kayron Pozo, Vice Chairperson for MAG, told the Chronicle: “This is a difficult one because we need to recuperate the funds for Gibraltar generally, but it must be quite concerning for the venues that have been told overnight that fees have gone up.”

“Our concern is that the venues will not want to hire musicians due to the rise in price, but when you are providing entertainment that includes having your radio or TV on.

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