Chamber welcomes 2011 Budget measures

The Chamber of Commerce welcomes the 2011 Budget as presented in the House of Assembly on Monday 4th July 2011.

The Budget is positive in a number of areas of interest to members.

As had been widely expected, the measures include another round of decreases in personal taxation, which extends to all taxpayers.  This is of clear benefit to all Gibraltar and is to be welcomed.  Any reduction in taxation also has a dampening effect on gross wage demands, which is positive for business.

The Chamber also welcomes the reversion of the discount back up to 20% for on-time payment of rates for the wholesale and retail sector, which includes bars and restaurants.  The reduction of import duty on certain items from 12% to 6% will also be of help to traders.

For some years now, the Chamber has been expressing its concern about the ongoing long term financial liability imposed by non-funded final salary based pension schemes for Civil Servants.  Government has now done something to reduce this liability in the long term.  While existing employees will continue to enjoy the benefits of the final salary based scheme, new entrants into the Service as from 1st January 2012, will be joining a funded scheme (as is already the case with employees of statutory authorities and agencies) , which is more in line with what is happening elsewhere in the world.  This latter point is highlighted in the Budget Speech.

The creation of the new “Borders and Coastguard Agency” is also noted.  Although this Agency will take over some functions from Security & Immigration Limited, and other Government departments and agencies, it is to be hoped that this will not mushroom into another big burden on the taxpayer into the future.  Also, the decision to invest £12m in GBC may not be welcomed by all.

All in all, though, a positive budget for business.  The continuing good performance of the Gibraltar economy, in terms of GDP growth and employment, is good news for ‘Gib. Inc’ and will serve to continue to attract the outside investment that is necessary for continued growth.