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Opinion & Analysis

Save our people’s bank

By Sir Joe Bossano

Our 2019 policy to reorient our economy shows that since Brexit, our bilateral trade with UK has more than doubled and now stands at £6.6 billion.

We have taken what is happening in the global economy into account in the National Economic Plan and ensured it will enable us to deliver new initiatives in spite of public finances being just about enough to cover the cost of the public services.

The GSD, on the other hand, has no alternative economic plan. All they do and all they have done since 2011 is criticise ours and try to undermine it.

They would not do what needs to be done to protect our economy.

They cannot do it.

They do not know how to do it.

They plan to do the opposite of what is needed which is to run down the operations of the Savings Bank instead of growing them.

In Government, they kept the Bank deposits in cash and said it did not need reserves, which they took out and spent, leaving only £1,444.

In the last two budgets, Roy Clinton has criticised me for not doing the same now with the Savings Bank £70 million reserve, even though we do not keep the deposits in cash.

What we do, is use those savings to create economic activity and profits, which enable us to pay the interest on debentures as we have been doing for the last 11 years, well above what other institutions were offering.

The Savings Bank does what all development banks do everywhere else. They have made it clear before and during this election, that they would stop supporting new safe projects like first Home Ownership apartments, the Jewish Home extension, the Pensioner Homeowners project etc.

Their policy would be catastrophic for our economy. It would mean that our pensioners would stop being offered 5%, 10-year debentures because they would have no way of paying it and it will also mean that Civil Servants will not be able to invest in commuted pensions because they would stop providing the opportunity to do this if they are not going to redeploy the money competitively and make a profit.

We have a list of things that are going to be happening in the next four years all of which will require funding and all of which will make profits for the Savings Bank and all of which are safe. The opposition says it is safer to put money in the stock exchange in London.

We have proved, in the years between 1988 and 1996, and between 2011 and 2023, how we are capable of growing the Savings Bank into an institution that is now with deposits, not from the Government, of over £1.5 billion, 95% from residents, the bulk from Gibraltar pensioners.

So I ask you, save the Savings Bank, stop the GSD and vote for our 10 candidates of the GSLP and Liberal Alliance.

For the last 11 years the GSD have done everything in their power, in every election and in-between elections, to undermine confidence in the Savings Bank and scare people into withdrawing their savings.

They have failed miserably.

Deposits, other than Government money, were £90 million in 2011 and £1.5 billion this year.

In the first three months of 2012 when I took over as Minister for the Savings Bank the reserves went up to £770,000 from £1,444. Since then, they have gone to £70m. The growth in deposits and profits of our people’s bank - the oldest in Gibraltar - is a clear vote of confidence from the thousands of Gibraltarians and other residents who have placed their savings in it.

I want, as the Minister responsible, to thank you all for continuing to support the bank in spite of the vicious 11-year campaign by the GSD which continues to this day.

Your vote of confidence by putting your savings in it must now be converted into a vote in the ballot box for our ten candidates so that you can stop the GSD getting into power to destroy what we have achieved together.

Vote for us.

Vote to save our people’s bank.

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