Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Local News

Govt hits back over GSD leaflet

The Chief Minister and the Minister for Housing will write to the tenants of the six housing estates “to explain the true picture” having secured £300 million of investment on the strength of the public housing stock.

This comes after the GSD accused the Government of “mortgaging” those housing estates and, on Thursday, distributed a leaflet to residents carrying the headline ‘Picardo Mortgages your Housing Estate’.

Hitting back yesterday, the Government accused the GSD of scaremongering and defended the method behind securing the “institutional investment”.

In a statement the Government said, when in government, the GSD’s policy was to sell off post-war accommodation in order to raise money.

This had the effect of reducing the Government housing rental stock, the Government added.

“Instead of selling these assets, and reducing the number of homes available to rent, this Government has secured £300 million of new institutional investment on the strength of the enhancement and refurbishment that is being carried out.”

“This prudent method of raising very low cost capital at fixed rates is common practice in UK and a detailed explanation of it was presented to Parliament in July.”

This means, it added, that the number of flats available for rental for those who cannot afford to buy elsewhere, will remain unchanged.

The Government added that along with the Housing Authority it will remain fully responsible for the allocation, repair and maintenance of the housing estates and that the Crown will retain the freehold interest in the six housing estates, meaning that the security of all tenants remains “completely unaffected”.

“It is a win/win situation for everyone,” the Government said.

According to the statement the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, and the Minister for Housing, Samantha Sacramento, already have advanced plans to write to every single housing tenant in order to explain the “true picture”.

“It is a mark of the desperate situation in which the Opposition find themselves, that they should stoop so low and scare people, particularly the elderly, in this way,” the Government said.

“It was the GSD who went to an election in 2011 knowing that they had everything in place to borrow a further £100 million through a private placement and who were going to increase electricity and water prices by over 100% and who said absolutely nothing about it.”

“It was the GSD who campaigned in 2011 knowing that they were going to breach the ceiling of the debt limit and would need a resolution of the Parliament to allow them to exceed the legal borrowing limit.”

“And it was the GSD that put government estates into companies without disclosing that to the public.”

“We instead have made this deal public at the first meeting of the Parliament after the transaction concluded, although we were not required to do so.”

The Government said it has been clear and transparent and has taken up an “excellent” financial opportunity when it presented itself.