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๐—•๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—ฆ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฝ๐—น๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ/๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฐ

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๐—•๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ป๐—ผ ๐—ฆ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฝ๐—น๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ/๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฐ

In the Budget debate this week in Parliament, Sir Joe Bossano confirmed that there was no surplus in the year ended 2023/24. This was in response to why the presentation of the outturn had changed from a contribution of ยฃ30 million to Government companies within the originally estimated surplus of ยฃ2.5 million for 2023/24 to an advance/loan of ยฃ27.6 million which is excluded from recurrent expenses and the announced surplus outturn of ยฃ1.9 million.

Roy Clinton MP the GSD Shadow Minister for Public Finance stated the following:

โ€œSir Joe Bossano was clear in Parliament that there was no surplus in 2023/24 and ยฃ10 million had to be used to pay interest from the sinking fund instead of the Consolidated Fund because of the financial situation.

There is no getting away from the fact that Government overspent by ยฃ65.1m in departments which Sir Joe confirms. Increases in Revenue have not covered that extra spending. The numbers have been deliberately fudged to pretend there was a surplus and that financial stability has been achieved.
For the Government to now suggest that both I and the Leader of the Opposition are lying is to deny the plain truth that even Sir Joe Bossano openly acknowledges.

The public can decide for themselves who is lying and why.โ€

Government record breaking U turn on pollution levy

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Government record breaking U turn on pollution levy

The Chief Minister in what must be a record breaking U-turn has completely retracted his pollution levy budget measure which he now says is to be reviewed by the Minister for Transport and opened to โ€˜consultationโ€™. This U turn record breaks the previous backtracking on the company levy he introduced in a recent budget or the pedestrianisation of Line Wall Road.

The pollution levy was bad policy and it was obvious on any interpretation of it. People were therefore absolutely right to immediately react negatively to a measure which was bad for working people, especially those on low incomes.

Damon Bossino said โ€œThis begs the glaringly pertinent question: how can a government have once again failed to think through a revenue raising measure before announcing it? The public will justifiably ask itself the question as to how such a measure could have had the support of the entire, supposedly socialist government, which had no regard to its effect on ordinary citizens particularly those on low incomes, young people and the elderly.โ€

The Chief Minister is out of touch with reality as is the entire government. For a man to refer, in support of the policy on GBC following his budget speech that he had bought himself a Porsche in order to lift his spirits speaks to this in a very pointed way and will not be forgotten or lost on people.

It is important to note that the Government has not wholly abandoned the policy and has kicked it into the long grass subjecting it to โ€˜consultationโ€™.

The GSD Opposition will press the government for answers.

GSD Cloak Doesnโ€™t Help Picardo

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GSD Cloak Doesnโ€™t Help Picardo

Mr Picardo thinks that surrounding himself with former GSD Ministers will give him an air of respectability. It isnโ€™t working. When is he going to realise that this is about his inability to ringfence his conflicts of interest and to be seen, clearly, by the public as having done that.

Mr Picardo repeatedly saying that Mr Montegriffo was the GSD founder is not a defence to his actions in the same way as hiring Peter Caruana who once described Mr Picardo as โ€œunfitโ€ to be Chief Minister will not provide him with blanket of immunity or absolution.

For Mr Picardo to say that the former Governor approached Mr Montegriffo over a possible GPA role hardly absolves Mr Picardo of responsibility even if it did happen that way. Gibraltar is now used to Mr Picardoโ€™s spin and twist of the facts long enough to be sceptical about his explanations. In any event it should have been plain to the Chief Minister
as well as the former Governor how inappropriate it was to appoint a senior lawyer at Hassans as GPA Chair in the context of evidence being heard in the McGrail Inquiry. Indeed, it is a brazen act in the face of the ongoing inquiry disregarding everything said in it.

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: โ€œThe McGrail Inquiry has heard plenty of evidence of the interwoven commercial and ongoing business interests between Mr Picardo and his law firm who have even via corporate vehicles been vying for public contracts from his own Government. It has also heard evidence as to how Mr Picardo then sought to use his influence to impact on decision-making of the GPA. Any reasonable observer would think it would be inappropriate to have a senior lawyer from his law firm in that role. That is because the perception of independence of the GPA Chair is as important as substantive independence.

Under the law the Chief Minister and former Governor had power to ensure that the panel of persons from whom the GPA Chair was chosen did not include a member of his law firm. People will find it hard to believe no one else could have been appointed to that role.

Mr Picardo has taken to surrounding himself with former GSD ministers in the hope this gives him a better appearance. Itโ€™s not working and all it looks like is that he is so desperately clutching at straws that he has to wheel out Sir Peter Caruana and Mr Montegriffo to make him look better. He needs to stop digging in his hole.โ€