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Govt’s ‘reckless debt’ magnifies Brexit threat, GSD says

High levels of debt resulting from the Gibraltar Government’s ‘excessive spending’ will magnify the threat posed by Brexit to Gibraltar, the GSD said yesterday.

The GSD was reacting to comments made by the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, on BBC 4’s Today programme over the weekend, specifically that a “hard Brexit” would pose “an existential threat to Gibraltar’s current economic model”.

The GSD said the risk of Gibraltar facing a Brexit had been known for the past three years.

“Despite knowing that, Mr Picardo and his GSLP/Liberal Government, in that period, have embarked on and undertaken the largest spending spree funded in the main by debt in the history of Gibraltar and have increased recurrent expenditure massively, recklessly gambling Gibraltar’s financial well-being on Brexit not being the referendum result,” the GSD said.

“Well, they got it wrong.”

The Opposition reiterated its long-standing argument that the current Government has spent £750 million in capital projects in four years.

The combined debt of the Government and Government-owned companies now exceeds £1.1 billion, the GSD added.

“That level of spending and debt in any circumstances would not have been prudent, but to have done so at a time when the Government knew that our community could face an ‘existential threat’ to its economy from a potential Brexit has been downright reckless,” the GSD said.

Daniel Feetham, the Leader of the Opposition, added: “Every Government that has known how to administer the affairs of this community in a safe and secure manner has always understood that our economic strength underpins our political strength in the face of potential decisions by the United Kingdom Government but more crucially in relation to Spain.”

“These high levels of debt resulting from excessive spending and incursion of more recurrent expenditure magnify the existential threats posed by Brexit to our social, political and constitutional model.”

“Mr Picardo must take the full responsibility for that.”