Gibraltar’s 2018/19 budget address was delivered by the Hon. Fabian Picardo QC MP on the 10th of June.
The budget was designed to promote business, advance education, and provide affordable homes for Gibraltarians while recognising the need to protect our environment.
According to the Chief Minister, the budget has been prepared by adhering to four principals:
1. By recognising Gibraltar’s most important assets, its people, and its land.
2. By not borrowing to repay recurrent expenditure.
3. By borrowing and investing responsibly.
4. By building up reserves.
A key point from the address is that the government departments have underspent by £4m this year. The GDP forecast for 2018/19 was £2.35 billion; an increase of 8.2% compared to the previous year.
Since the border closure in 1969, expenditure has risen from £2.8m to £623m in 2018, meaning our income has grown almost 6,500% more than our expenditure in that time.
The Chief Minister went on to say, “This great nation of ours turned a deficit of £352,000 into this year’s record breaking, all-time high, unquestionable surplus of almost £83m”.
Another point of note is the Government’s decision to sell their 50% interest in the equity of the properties in the newest co-ownership estates for £165m “in a manner that has unlocked the capital value of illiquid residual co-ownership equity interests and made it available to build new co-ownership estates”.
The opposition has requested further clarification on some of the government’s expenditure.