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Government must take action to recover the £6 Million in rental arrears

By | Housing | No Comments

Unpaid rents now stand at over £6 Million!

Government rental accommodation must always be provided to those members of our community who most need this subsidy. However, we are seeing levels of unpaid rents increase year on year and even more so under the GSLP Government. On 31st March 2011 arrears stood at £3.7 Million and as of January 2016 they stand at a staggering £6.015M. This level of debt is not acceptable and something must be done to curb the ever increasing level of debt by those who fail to meet their weekly/monthly commitment to pay their way.

We recognise that there are a small number of people who, despite their attempts to pay their rent, are unable to do so and it is right that we as a community should bear the cost of supporting those struggling to make ends meet. However, the abuse by some must cease and the Government needs to take active and effective steps to recover losses, which are ultimately borne by the community as a whole. It is remarkable that as from 1st July 2015 to the last sitting of Parliament in January 2016, only two cases of eviction proceedings have progressed through our Courts. More can be done and must be done in this respect. To simply point the finger back to the 16 years of the previous administration demonstrates a lack of leadership and conviction by the GSLP administration to properly deal with the issue as it stands today. The Government’s rushed announcement of their “innovative measure” to prevent people with arrears from being allocating berths at the small boats marina smacks of too little too late and we invite the Government to disclose their detailed plans to recover unpaid rents.

In March 2014, we announced our policy to means test new applicants seeking to access Government housing, a policy which we consider fair, sustainable and in the best long term interests of our community. We would have hoped that Government would have adopted this policy. During the General Election, we advocated for new measures which would ensure that the Housing Department could obtain swift orders for attachment of earnings so that those who continue to breach their rent payment obligations will have amounts deducted directly from their salaries/wages.

Elliott Phillips MP said: “ We need to take a firm stand on unpaid rents, tenants who can afford to pay and who are not meeting their commitments must do so and the law needs to be strengthen and enforced in order to achieve this. Many thousands of hard working families are dutifully paying rent to the Government, to private landlords or are paying mortgages. We are all contributing to our community and it is not fair that the few who are failing to pay their way without valid reasons are being allowed to get away with this. There are some members of our community who are, despite their best efforts, struggling financially and it is right that we as a community should continue to support those most in need. But it cannot be fair, sustainable, or in the long term interests of this community to irresponsibly allow rental arrears to continue to increase without taking proactive steps to recover these as soon as possible”.

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Daniel Feetham writes letter to Jeremy Corbyn explaining why he feels his views on Overseas Territories are antiquated and muddled

By | Uncategorised | No Comments

GSD Party Leader, Daniel Feetham, has written to the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, about his comments that the UK should look for an “accommodation” with Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

He said that “while the comment was not directed at Gibraltar it does have implications for us as it probably reflects his thinking on Gibraltar too”.

Mr Feetham said that the comments “betray very muddled and antiquated left wing view of the Overseas Territories generally and Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands in particular”.

He said “it based on the view that Britain’s Overseas Territories are a vestige of Britain’s imperial past and that the United Kingdom should, therefore, be rid of them.  It takes no account of the fact that the people in these territories feel as British as anyone in the United Kingdom and that the United Kingdom has a responsibility to respect their wishes. Otherwise, the United Kingdom would be acting with the same colonial autocracy and disregard for the rights of people as the colonial powers did hundreds of years ago.  This is the irony of people who think like Mr Corbyn; their views are as colonial as those of the days of empire which he instinctively so dislikes.  There is only one principle that matters in these cases and that is the principle of self-determination.  Anyone adhering to basic socialist principles of social and civil justice ought to understand that.  It is not about the Falkland “islanders have an enormous say” in any accommodation reached by the United Kingdom and Argentina as Mr Corbyn characterised it.  It is about the Falkland Islanders having the right to choose their own future and no one else having the right to enter into any kind of process of negotiation about that future without their prior consent. Those are the commitments provided to Gibraltar by successive UK Governments and, as a democrat, he would do well to remember that.”

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Government Seeks to Weaken Public Debt Limit Control

By | Uncategorised | No Comments

We have noted the flurry of draft legislation that has been issued by the Government over the last few weeks. A proposal to amend the Public Finance (Borrowing Powers) Act 2008 “the Act” was gazetted on 24 December which has not as yet been given any prominence.

Roy Clinton, GSD Shadow Minister for public finance stated:

“The proposed amendment is surprising not in that it seeks to increase the net public debt limit from £200 million to £300 million, but that it would remove the limit set at 80% of recurrent revenue. This would mean that the legal net debt limit would become the higher of £300 million or 40% of GDP alone. Given 40% of GDP has always been higher than 80% of recurrent revenue the Government would  be allowed an extra £200 million of net debt assuming GDP of £1.6 billion. This reliance on GDP alone and not recurrent revenue as a “warning light” cannot be considered a prudent step to take in the management of our public finances. We intend to question the Government as to the need for this amendment to the Act,  it would appear to be designed to avoid the requirement to seek Parliamentary approval for an increase in borrowing limits which in itself is deeply concerning coming so soon after the General Election.”

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