As usual all the Chief Minister can do when defending himself on his flawed and concessionary Tax Treaty is set up a series of smokescreens and point to the past. People are tired of the GSLP pointing to the past as if this justified their mistakes in the present. They have been in Government for 8 years now and need to defend their decisions.
The fact is that the Tax Treaty entered into by the Chief Minister is bad for Gibraltar. It treats some Gibraltar companies as if they were resident in Spain even when they are doing no corporate trading in Spain. It will tax some Gibraltarians for four years as if they were in Spain even after returning home to Gibraltar. And it taxes Spaniards and Spanish companies as if they were in Spain even though they conduct their activities in Gibraltar or live here.
GSD Leader Keith Azopardi said:
“This is a Treaty that will mean the loss of business, inward investment and consequently jobs. It is unfair on Gibraltarians returning home to Gibraltar. And this is what they signed up to in their indecent haste. It is not a fair and neutral double taxation agreement. It is on the heads of this Govt. They did so without consultation and after breaching their promise to consult Parliament before they did so.”
That is what the people of Gibraltar will see. We understand that Mr Picardo doesn’t like to be reminded of this uncomfortable truth and flawed agreement but he is not defending Gibraltar by twisting the truth of what his concessionary deal does at the UN or anywhere else. Nor are we siding with Spain by pointing out these flaws given that they are the actual legal effect of what the Government have signed up to. Mr Picardo cannot cajole the GSD into hiding that from people by a shallow appeal to mindless nationalism.
He needs to deal with the present and justify to people why he entered into a deal which is so different to the UK Government’s own tax agreement with Spain. That is neutral and fair. It does not involve the giving away of these concessions. We are happy to debate these issues with Mr Picardo. So far he has been avoiding debating the Tax motion in Parliament. He should table it as soon as possible so everyone can see what a bad agreement this is.
“As we have made clear if we are elected to Government at the forthcoming general election we intend to request the termination of the Tax Treaty and its replacement with a fair and neutral double taxation agreement that does not unfairly penalise Gibraltarians, Gibraltar companies or harm our economy” said Mr Azopardi.