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Stuart Byrne

UK Double Taxation Agreement

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GFSB welcomes UK Double Taxation Agreement announcement

The GFSB notes and welcomes the recent announcement of the intention to draw up a Double Taxation Agreement (“DTA”) between Gibraltar and the UK. The GFSB believes that such an agreement would modernise tax arrangements with the UK and simplify matters for those of its members that do business with the UK.

Whilst the details of the final DTA are important, any agreement should encourage trade between Gibraltar and the UK and, as such, the GFSB makes itself available to assist HM Government of Gibraltar with the upcoming process.

Main Street Image

PR: Main Street BID

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Main Street BID

Over the last eighteen months, the GFSB has received many complaints from our retail members about worsening trading conditions. It is a well-publicised fact that town centres throughout the world are facing similar difficulties.

With this in mind, the GFSB contracted retail analyst Kerching in 2018. The brief was to conduct a review of Main Street and propose changes to make our town centre a more attractive destination.

One of the key recommendations in the report was to form a Business Improvement District (BID), which could manage and co-ordinate the proposed improvements.

We are delighted to announce that we have now appointed Mosaic, leading experts in this field, who have prepared and managed more than one hundred BIDs throughout the world.

We would like to thank everyone who has participated in the process up to now, especially the Government of Gibraltar, who have shown their commitment and enthusiasm for the benefits that a BID can bring by making a significant financial contribution to get this initiative off the ground.

GFSB spokesperson said, “The Federation looks forward to engaging with all stakeholders – trading bodies, retailers, members of the public and others to make the BID a reality. Our aim is to transform our town centre into a world class destination so that it benefits everyone in Gibraltar, local residents, businesses and visitors alike.  We want everyone to BACK THE BID!”

https://www.gfsb.gi/main-street-review/

GFSB Annual Dinner 2019

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Brexit was the word on everyone’s lips at the GFSB’s Annual Gala Dinner in March this year. As members gathered at the bar of the Rock Hotel’s Khaima Restaurant making the most of a pleasant if chilly evening, news was just filtering through that the EU had agreed to the British Prime Minister’s request for an extension to the Brexit deadline.

There was a caveat, of course, that the so-called ‘third meaningful vote’ to be taken by MPs at the House of Commons the following week agreed the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Mrs May with the EU. Another development in the chaos that is Brexit, in the eyes, it appeared, of Gibraltar’s business community. Or, as Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo aptly put it in his keynote speech to members, “Gibraltar is like a cork in a storm at sea rather than an aircraft carrier.” The storm, he continued, having noted how it has been widely observed that negotiating with the EU always goes to the wire, is now at its zenith, but while aircraft carriers may struggle in a violent swell, corks float, and thus is Gibraltar likely to emerge from Brexit: still afloat, wet, perhaps, but ready to sail on.

The GFSB’s Annual Gala Dinner was an ideal opportunity to hear the most up to date news on the issue of Brexit and how this might affect Gibraltar, and it had been hoped that with only eight days to go to 29th March (the date originally set for UK and Gibraltar’s withdrawal from the EU) that Mr Picardo might have some additional detail on what withdrawal arrangements had been agreed. This was clearly not to be the case, and discussions around the dining tables as views were exchanged over food and wine pointed to the frustration and sense of powerlessness being experienced by many of Gibraltar’s businesses. “We can’t plan ahead,” a frustrated MD told me, “we have had to freeze expansion plans, but while we could do with bigger premises, we can’t take that risk just yet until we can assess properly how Brexit and its implications will affect both our trade, and our work force.” Several others expressed concerns about border fluidity for workers, which might be as affected by the changing political climate in Spain as it is by Brexit, while still others expressed scepticism as to the availability of supplies in the short term while new agreements on trade terms with the EU are established.

Yet there still remained an air of optimism. Resilience in the face of adversity is a recognised feature of Gibraltar’s business community, alongside a thirst for innovation and creativity as evidenced by the Business Innovation Awards that also took part during the course of the evening. The Chief Minister made reference to the efforts and to the drive demonstrated by Gibraltar’s businesses. “We are stronger, growing and emerging as a successful Mediterranean common law jurisdiction,” Mr Picardo declared, pointing out that Gibraltar is in a better position in terms of employment and the economy than it was in 2016 when the referendum took place. He reiterated that Gibraltar is ready, after two or more years of intense work by Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia and his team, to face the consequences of the possible scenarios that may emerge over the next few weeks as the UK Parliament continues to wrangle with itself on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement: Gibraltar’s position, he noted, is as advantageous as it could possibly be.

The Chief Minister’s address also tackled the issue of the recent Tax Treaty with Spain, an issue that has seem some controversy in the local media. Without going into the terribly dry detail of tax law, perhaps to the relief of most members present, Mr Picardo appeared to aim to allay some of the concerns that had been openly expressed in the past weeks. “No concessions,” he declared, “have been made on our sovereignty, jurisdiction and control.” No new taxes have been created, he continued, there has simply been a clarification of the situation and certain obligations of cooperation and transparency created for both Gibraltar and Spain. For Gibraltar, this has the benefit of receiving de jure recognition of its parliament and its laws by Spain, something that has not always been the case. The Treaty also creates an obligation from Spain to remove Gibraltar from its blacklist of tax havens, and should this not be the case – a point that was made to the Chief Minister when he invited questions from those attending – then there are provisions for Gibraltar to withdraw from its obligations in turn.

As the address ended, the subject turned back to Brexit – unavoidable perhaps, on this occasion – and Mr Picardo responded to a question from an EU citizen and a member of Gibraltar’s business community. “What,” she asked, “will happen to those of us who are not Gibraltarian but might live and work here, or might live in Spain and work here? What rules will apply to us? Will we be able to stay? Will we need new documents?” The uncertainty of Brexit has personal impacts on everyone who lives and works in the EU as well as causing problems for businesses. Mr Picardo’s response was clear and delivered with no hesitation. If the Withdrawal Agreement is accepted, then the rights of EU citizens are preserved for the two year transition period and Gibraltar is part of that Agreement and will apply its terms. If there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit, then the Gibraltar Government will respect the acquired rights of those EU citizens who live or work in Gibraltar. “Unlike the UK,” Mr Picardo asserted, “we do not fear EU immigration. We recognise that it is positive for our economy and enriches our nation and we want to see it continue.”

The Chief Minister concluded his address by referring to work that the Government is carrying out with the GFSB to support businesses. This includes new draft regulations on business licences being prepared and ready, it was hoped, within a couple of months, and the creation of a Business Improvement District in order to improve Main Street and its offering. Mr Picardo thanked GFSB members for the support and backing that they have shown the Government throughout the Brexit process and the confidence in his team that has been shown.

Later in the evening, the GFSB’s Business Innovation Award, sponsored by Gibtelecom, was presented. Won this year by Hempassion, the brainchild of David Martinez and Nathan Porro, this young company manufactures CBD oil products and exports them to several European countries. With international interest in CBD oil products increasing at pace, the growth potential of this business and the efforts made by the business to bring a new industry to Gibraltar impressed the judges.

During his introduction to the Award winners, GFSB Board Member, Eran Shay, made reference to the fact that this year the Award has attracted more entrants than ever before. This resulted in there having to be a second round of interviews to further filter and shortlist finalists. The quality of the businesses that entered the competition was another factor that challenged the judges, and it was noted that entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation are powerful features of Gibraltar’s community, something that both the GFSB and the Award sponsors, Gibtelecom, are delighted to support and encourage.

While Brexit was an obvious topic of conversation during much of the evening – although it had petered out somewhat by the time the after dinner port was being served – the event also served to highlight some of the GFSB’s achievements of the past year and look ahead to some exciting new projects. In his welcome speech, GFSB Chairman, Julian Byrne made reference to the work that had been carried out by the GFSB to provide useful, practical support to members with initiatives and events such as the Main Street Review which has led to the preparation of a Business Improvement District for the improvement of Main Street; the ongoing and increasingly successful Breakfast Club seminars; the bi-annual speed networking events which had received great feedback from members and continuing training opportunities which benefits from government subsidies.

Constantly seeking ways to help and support Gibraltar’s small businesses, Mr Byrne made mention of up and coming initiatives, including the development of a Small Business Manifesto to be prepared in anticipation of a general election later this year. He also made reference to the merging of Women in Business into the GFSB. Invited to address members, Brenda Cuby, from Women in Business then gave an overview of the organisation, looking ahead to working closely with the GFSB to help the business community achieve a better balance through equality, diversity and inclusion.

The evening, as usual one of the year’s most successful opportunities for networking, concluded with a raffle, with prizes donated by GFSB members being awarded in a friendly, jovial atmosphere. Brexit, if not forgotten, was at least put aside for a while longer.

http://www.police.gi/1/index.php/rgp/project-servator-link/project-servator.html

Project Servator

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PROJECT SERVATOR

“In today’s climate, security should be everyone’s business, and our community has a key role to play. We can ALL be Gibraltar’s Eyes & Ears by trusting our instincts and reporting any suspicious behaviour to help keep Gibraltar safe.” DI Paul Chipolina – RGP Crime & Protective Services Division

What is Project Servator?

Project Servator is a strategic method of policing that has been launched across various locations int he United Kingdom, with Gibraltar currently the only location outside mainland UK where this project has been approved for implementation. Servator involves tactics developed and tested by experts at the UK Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, and used by Police to deter,detect & disrupt criminal activity, ranging from pick-pocketing to terrorism. These tactics provide a visible and reassuring presence for residents, visitors and staff from premises in any given area.Working together, we can ALL help to deter criminal activity and disrupt hostile reconnaissance within our community.

How can anyone learn more about Servator?

Feel free to approach any of our officers during their deployments and they’ll be more than happy to talk about Servator. You can contact us by email on servator@royalgib.police.gi or visit our website www.police.gi where you can also download leaflets and posters. You can follow us on twitter@rgpolice (hashtag #ProjectServator) or via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/royalgibpolice A quick online search will reveal information on Project Servator via the websites of participating UK Police Forces or even the dedicated Wikipedia page.

#TogetherWeveGotItCovered

#ProjectServator

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE PROJECT SERVATOR PAGE ON THE RGP WEBSITE, WHERE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD POSTERS & LEAFLETS TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT

GFSB Annual General Meeting 2019

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GFSB Annual General Meeting

The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses held its annual general meeting on Thursday 21st February. Its conference room at its Irish Town office suite was full to capacity for this year’s AGM, testament both to the increasing numbers of members and the growing participative nature of the Federation in recent years.

In his report to members, GFSB Chairman, Julian Byrne, reviewed the Federation’s activities and achievements of the previous year. Reflecting on the presentation of a healthy set of accounts by Federation Treasurer, Daniel Delgado. Mr Byrne emphasised that as a non-profit making organisation, the GFSB continuously sought ways of re-investing surplus funds for the benefit of the membership.  During the past year, this work has included a full review of Gibraltar’s retail offering in Main Street, investing in updated technology and a new website, and developing further training and events.

In his review of the year’s events, Mr Byrne pointed to the success of the GFSB’s Speed Networking events. “Networking is often the main reason why members join the GFSB. Each of the two events held last year were attended by over 50 businesses and the feedback was very positive. We are going to continue to hold these events twice a year.”

Further opportunities for networking and learning are offered by the GFSB’s Breakfast Clubs. These have been ongoing for a few years and have become increasingly popular, with themes and speakers selected for their topicality and as a response to suggestions from members. This past year, Breakfast Clubs have addressed issues such as employment law, health and safety, tax issues and the tourism industry, just to mention a few. These useful seminars will continue during the course of next year.

Reviewing the Federation’s Business Innovation Awards, Mr Byrne commented on how these are increasingly popular. “We thought last year’s numbers of entrants were good,” he said, “with some excellent business ideas. This year we have had many more entries than ever before so  we have had to put together two phases of selection and shortlisting the finalists was tough.” This, he continued, is great news for Gibraltar PLC. “The GFSB is absolutely delighted that there are increasing numbers of entrepreneurs, especially young people, who are demonstrating creativity, courage and great business acumen, creating wealth and jobs for Gibraltar.”

As an organisation representing its members’ interests, the GFSB has been working on numerous issues, Mr Byrne reflecting on three core topics. “We continue to work closely with government and businesses on the issues associated with the business licencing system, and are optimistic that the current system, which does cause a burden to businesses, will be amended and simplified,” he said, “we are also hoping to see further progress on Egov, which we know will modernise and streamline many processes for businesses.”

The biggest current issue that has been looked at closely over the past year and continues to be a concern to members is Brexit and the continuing uncertainty of not having an outcome determined with just some 40 days to go the withdrawal from EU. The GFSB is, on the whole, optimistic that Gibraltar, already outside the Customs Union, is well placed to handle issues associated with importation and exportation of goods that might arise from a No Deal Brexit. However, members considered that it would be prudent to plan as much as was possible, to consider how importation of goods direct from UK might be affected by any problems that the UK itself might experience and to keep in mind possible political changes in Spain as a result of the Spanish elections due in April.

This year’s meeting featured discussion on two major issues that the GFSB will be addressing in the year ahead. The first of these is the incorporation of Women in Business as part of the Federation, which was agreed at an Extraordinary General Meeting earlier in the month. This will involve some constitutional changes and it is expected will bring to the Federation the opportunity to work with the local business community to increase inclusivity.

The GFSB is also involved in the development of a Business Improvement District based on and around Main Street, itself one of the major outcomes of the Federation’s Main Street Review that was undertaken last year. This will create a team that will find ways of improving Main Street based on some of the ideas that were generated during the Review. With Main Street a focal point for so many businesses as well as for the local community and visitors to Gibraltar, this was considered an essential move to continue to develop and improve Gibraltar’s overall economy.

New members were then elected to the GFSB Board, with thanks being proffered to outgoing members, Lianne (Azzopardi) Garcia, Michael Borge and Kamlesh Khubchand. This year, Janet Brear, Brenda Cuby, Rachelle King, Rosana Olivares and Fiona Young will add their energy, enthusiasm and expertise to the GFSB.

The evening was rounded off with refreshments and a chance to network and exchange ideas, with members already looking ahead to the next GFSB event, its annual Gala Dinner, which will be taking place on Thursday 21st March. Further information on this, as well as information on joining the GFSB and the benefits available to members can be found on the GFSB website: www.gfsb.gi

GFSB Extraordinary General Meeting 2019

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The GFSB Board would like call an Extraordinary General Meeting on Thursday 7th February 2019 at 1pm in the GFSB Conference Room, 122 Irish Town, Gibraltar.

The EGM is to discuss and vote on the continued discussion of the possibility of the Women In Business joining the GFSB.

Event; EGM
Date; Thursday 7th February 2019
Time; 1pm
Location; GFSB House, 122 Irish Town
For GFSB Members

Please make every effort to attend the EGM or vote by proxy (proxy form attached).

Please send proxy forms to gfsg@gfsb.gi before 1pm on Wednesday 6th February 2019. Forms after such a time will not be recorded.

If you would like to attend, please email gfsb@gfsb.gi or call (+350) 200 47722.

Study on late payment in B2B transactions

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This is to let you know that the study on late payment in B2B transactions is now published.

The study includes:

–       EU28-wide assessment of the effectiveness of the LP Directive in B2B transactions across the following 7 sectors: construction, retail, manufacturing, food & drinks, IT, business and professional services, utilities and transport;

–       identification of specific measures – both legal or voluntary – put in place in the MS to fight late payment in B2B transactions, and assessment of their effectiveness;

–       recommendations.

Here is the link to the study:

https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/c8b7391b-9b80-11e8-a408-01aa75ed71a1

GROW B2B LATE PAYMENT-practices-and-remedies-across-sectors European  Commission – DG GROW, 2018

GFSB Pre-Election Debate 2015

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GFSB Pre-Election Debate 2015

Gibraltar should be moving towards compulsory private sector pensions, but this needs to be done in such a way that doesn’t hurt small businesses. That was the view shared by the leaders of the GSLP Liberal and GSD parties, who addressed members of the Federation of Small Businesses at a pre-election event last night.

In his debate with Daniel Feetham, Fabian Picardo also revealed that one third of the electricity distribution network has been upgraded, with two thirds outstanding.

mytabu.net