Reacting to the latest statement from Action on Poverty (AOP), the Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said:
“The statement from an unnamed spokesperson for AOP is utter nonsense. The GSLP Liberal Government I lead has done more to curb poverty in Gibraltar than any member of AOP.
Our action has seen the minimum wage increase more than ever in our history. We have – for the first time ever – supported Community Care providing at least the minimum wage to all pensioners. We have shown real, human understanding of the issues facing members of our community.
Indeed, Felix Alvarez has seen his AOP group fracture because the arguments that they are putting are not based on reality but based on an agenda which is not straightforward but clearly designed to politicise the hardship that some are unfortunately going through. Already the Divorced Women’s Association has left AOP.
It is not fair to play with people’s emotions and it is not fair to attack a Government that has done more than any other. We have invested more in working people than ever before and the AOP statement will crash against the reality of what we have done when the time comes for people to judge our political actions. Of course people want more and we want to do more, but there is no government in the world than can deliver everything that everyone wants – in particular public sector, non-contributory pensions to private sector workers who have chosen not contributed to any pension scheme. Let’s be clear, that is what this is about. In my last meeting with AOP they were asking me to pay every private sector pensioner a pension of at least £24,000. That is what they, in particular the Private Pensioners Association, want. That is an undeliverable and illegitimate claim and underlies this attack on me personally by AOP.
I am confident that the electorate will see through this transparent attack.
I invite AOP to take a more realistic and less pugilistic approach.”