1st July 2022, 20:28
Reacting to the measures introduced by the Chief Minister in his Budget speech, the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses says it places too much pressure on business in the private sector as the source of additional revenue raising measures.
The GFSB says it's not only the Government feeling the squeeze of the pandemic, but businesses too are dealing with its effects and are struggling to recover.
The Federation questions why revenue raising measures in last year's and this year's budget are not matched by cost cutting and improved efficiency in the public sector. It notes the Government says it's willing to borrow money in order to cover the existing cost of public sector salaries, but points out the average salary in the public sector dwarfs the average in the private sector, and is up to 40% above their UK equivalents.
Despite the significant growth of the public sector over the past 10 years, the GFSB says its members do not believe there has been a proportional increase in efficiencies and the number of public services.
Furthermore, it says the budget does not contain any measures that will help to incentivise businesses and revenue generation and notes that its call for the reinstatement of the Business Nurturing Scheme has again not been heeded. Neither has the Government implemented the Business Licence Act to protect Gibraltar businesses from unfair competition.
In particular, the GFSB highlights the unfairness of the £25 per week Covid Recovery Charge which does not differentiate between business size and profitability and adds it will certainly hit members hard.
It says it has written to the Government asking it to reconsider the charge.