‘Pay people their money,’ GSD tells Picardo
The GSD Opposition has called on the Gibraltar Government to pay back the £20 million owed to the general public in tax rebates, accusing the Chief Minister of playing “fast and loose” with transparency and accountability.
Last year the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, revealed that approximately £30 million was owed to the general public in tax rebates, the GSD said in a statement yesterday.
It added that it has seen many complaints from members of the public who are aggrieved at being owed significant amounts in tax rebates from as far back as 2011.
The GSD said it has questioned the Government about this on various occasions but claimed that Mr Picardo “continues to play games and plays fast and loose with transparency and accountability”.
At the last session of Parliament the Leader of the Opposition asked “how many individuals or entities are currently entitled to tax rebates, and what is the overall value of rebates due” and the answer was that “It is not possible to answer his question accurately where the only parameter of time is ‘currently’”.
“Currently” is a word that anyone will understand, the GSD said adding that the splitting hairs in this way is “childish” and “does democracy a huge disservice”.
The Opposition added that it will reformulate the question by reference to March 31, 2017 – the end of the financial year - and “hopefully the Government will run out of excuses for refusing to provide the information”.
“In the meantime, the data that the Government did provide was that since 1 April 2016, £9.6m have been paid to 10,399 individuals and 65 entities.”
“This is entirely in the line with the estimates published in the budget last year where the Government made provision for the payment of £10m in rebates for the last financial year.”
But, the GSD said, it must follow that at least £20 million is still owed in tax rebates to the general public and the numbers of people owed money is likely to be “very significant”.
The Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham, said: “What is the point of the Government boasting about surpluses as the Chief Minister has done in his recent speeches when it owes the general public at least £20 m in rebates?”
“Mr. Picardo should have squandered less of the people’s money as he has in the last six years and the Government would have had the money to pay people what they have worked very hard to earn.”