The recent Gibraltar Day in London was once again a huge success with the customary lunch being held this year at the Drapers Hall in order to accommodate more people. The lunch was fully subscribed. The event is an excellent platform for Gibraltar’s business community to be able to network with UK-based businesses and promote ourselves to a wider audience. The Chamber would like to thank Jimmy Tipping and his team for organising this very useful event.
Events across the border continue to mystify us here at the Chamber. Having offered the hand of friendship to the Mayor, we just don’t understand the logic that has been employed by our neighbours in recent months. As we have always said, and indeed have proven – the Fletcher Report being one instance – we need to work together for mutual benefit. It is not too late for La Linea to salvage something from its current sorry state: a speedy conclusion to the access on the La Linea side of the new air terminal will create new jobs for Linenses and further enhance business and trade, which will be of benefit to all parties. This has to be a better alternative than continually putting out the begging bowl.
The economic slowdown has continued elsewhere in Europe and recent weeks have seen renewed pressure on the euro and selected euro-based economies. In sharp contrast Gibraltar has continued to attract new entrants to the local economy across several sectors: one new hotel aimed at the business traveller, a new online gaming firm specialising in mobile gaming applications and a new air route to Liverpool among others. What all these announcements show is the continued confidence by investors in Gibraltar as a place to do business. The Chamber welcomes all new companies to Gibraltar as well as those already established here who are investing to expand their businesses. Against a continuing tough economic environment however, there is no room for complacency. Nevertheless we should walk with a spring in our step, take a little pride in what has been achieved and be grateful for those firms and individuals who have helped bring this about.
Following on from our recent survey at the land frontier, the Chamber would like to clarify that people are free to shop wherever they like, whether it’s in the UK or in Spain; where they shop and what they buy is a matter of personal choice.
The Chamber has no issue with people purchasing goods from outside Gibraltar – even though shopping locally boosts our economy – the only thing we have highlighted is that if people bring goods into Gibraltar they should declare them and pay the relevant duty, just as local traders do when they bring goods into Gibraltar which are then sold in the community.
The revenue losses, coupled with the significant reputational risk for Gibraltar, are simply not worth considering. Similarly, Customs are present at the land frontier to uphold the law and they must be seen to be doing this as robustly as is possible.