Businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Through Gibraltar’s many businesses, large and small, we create employment, we provide goods and services to our thriving community. Nurturing and supporting our business community is an essential function of government.
You can download the Together Gibraltar Business Policy Brochure for more information on our policies for business.
The inability of Government to fully implement E-Gov has been a disappointment for the business community. Businesses need to interact easily with the Office for Fair Trade and the BLA, The Employment Agency, HM Customs, The Income Tax Office, Department of Social Security, Gibelec, Land Property Services, among others. Online access to administrative processes is essential and physical access readily available, where possible physically in the same vicinity.
Together Gibraltar commits to the implementation of E-gov across all departments and to a study of the viability of a “One Stop Shop” of all the Government departments, so that the whole business community can benefit and spend more time and energy getting on with running their businesses.
COST OF DOING BUSINESS
Government costs of running businesses like rates, electricity, water, social insurance and PAYE have been on the rise. Also, fees associated with setting up and running businesses like licensing and renewal of registrations are expensive and obstructive. If we really want to help businesses, and especially the move towards start-ups, these obstacles need to be removed. The overall effect of these rising costs is that they make it harder for businesses to succeed and expand, resulting in lower investment and less employment.
Together Gibraltar will commit to looking for efficiencies and ways to control these costs. If these costs need to rise, then there will be full transparency to help the business community to understand the need for these increases.
COST OF LABOUR
A leading cost of running a business is the cost of hiring labour, administering PAYE and contributions system. There exist a number of compliance and ancillary costs which could be reduced through better efficiency.
Together Gibraltar will conduct a review of the assessment and payments system to simplify and seek efficiencies for the benefit of all stakeholders.
LACK OF SKILLS IN WORKFORCE
Businesses in Gibraltar often find it hard to attract and retain a competent and qualified workforce. The biggest competitor to business in terms of hiring skilled workers is the Government itself, with beneficial employment packages that businesses struggle to match. This is an overall threat to the ability and capacity of private businesses to expand, thrive and contribute to the economy.
The shortage of suitably skilled and trained workers. Often the only option is to seek employees from Spain and further afield. This is especially the case in the construction and property maintenance sectors where the lack of trades apprenticeships has led to a clear shortage of tradesmen in the electrical, plumbing, carpentry fields to name just a few.
Together Gibraltar, in consultation with the Education Department, local unions and business organisations, will implement a forward thinking and long-term strategy to support businesses in developing skilled workers through training schemes, work placements and apprenticeships.
OPAQUE TENDERING SYSTEM
There are weaknesses and a lack of independence in the government’s online tendering system. It is impossible to establish whether all suppliers have equal chances to participate. The process and criteria used to award contracts is unclear and there is no way of knowing if bidders have been treated on equal terms. Most importantly there are no possibilities of appeal. Together Gibraltar will:
Ensure tenders valued at over £10,000 are awarded with a full report outlining the reasons why the tender was successful.
Set up a Tender Oversight Board that will include members of GFSB and the Chamber of Commerce that will offer a clear, open and independent contestation mechanism. This will ensure a high level of accountability.
Government has not always been receptive to the needs of the business community and has often been slow to respond. Together Gibraltar will:
Take a more collaborative approach to requesting the business community to work together to achieve our ambitions for a thriving business community.
We will have a bi-annual conference to establish a forum for cooperation.
THE TECH OPPORTUNITY
The future of business, economic development and wealth generation in Gibraltar will be influenced by the growing technological innovations sectors. Together Gibraltar is fully committed to making Gibraltar a premier hub for start-ups. We will:
Establish a technology park.
Work closely with the University of Gibraltar and top UK and European universities to establish a premier inward facing business location.
THE SPORTING LEISURE
Gibraltar is in an ideal position to take advantage of the boom in the sports sector of business. Together Gibraltar will set up an International School of Sports that will bring athletes from select Commonwealth countries with the aim to professionalise and take them to the next level.