The Government notes the statement from the Gibraltar Catering Association today.
In fact, the Government has consistently assisted and supported the Catering Association throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic. The Government’s assistance of the Catering Association is part of what the COVID costs are and part of the sums that make up the deficit that Gibraltar is today suffering.
Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar has, nonetheless, already agreed to provide the following additional financial support measures for the catering sector, which arise from discussions with outgoing Catering Association chairman Gino Jimenez:
(1) Rent – A moratorium on rent increases will be provided for the period from 1 January 2022 to 31 March 2022. This will apply to HMGoG commercial tenants as well as to private commercial tenants. This measure will be announced with retrospective effect and will now postpone any rent reviews to 1 April 2022.
(2) Rates – Rates for catering sector shall have their early payment discount increased by a further 25% for the first quarter of 2022 (this will mean an effective discount of 75% for early payment of rates). This will now be passed on to the second quarter of 2022.
(3) Employment Charges – The Department of Employment will continue to waive all registration fees, as it has done since the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020.
The Minister for Business, the Hon Vijay Daryanani, stated: “This further support package is aimed to mitigate some of the reduced business that the catering sector may have experienced following the Public Health Guidance issued on 18 November 2021. The support follows direct engagement with the Gibraltar Catering Association earlier this year and was agreed by the Government last week and communicated to the Catering Association ahead of their statement today – although the Government understands that both may have crossed. The Government has consistently assisted and supported the Catering Association throughout the entire pandemic. We have repeatedly explained to the industry representatives, however, that the tax payer should support where absolutely necessary and not where potentially desirable. This is precisely what Government is doing now. I have been in direct contact with Gino Jimenez, the outgoing President of the Association, over the last two months so there is no question of the Catering Industry “being ignored” as their statement of today unfairly states. Finally, I take this opportunity to thank the Gibraltar Catering Association for their continued service to our community and contribution to our economy.”