The Chamber and the GFSB welcome the initial economic measures announced by the Chief Minister yesterday in order to help businesses during this crisis. The measures announced are a good start to alleviate some of the economic hardship to the businesses most affected at this moment in time by this crisis. We look forward to the implementation of additional measures in the short term to alleviate the economic impact which all of Gibraltar is suffering.
In this respect we will continue working with Government as we have done so far to ensure that we discuss and agree future economic measures as and when they are needed. Whilst the top priority for Gibraltar is to keep safe and adopt any measures that will delay and contain the spread of Covid 19, our priority must also be to safeguard our economy, safeguard our businesses and safeguard our employees. In these unprecedented times where Government is working tirelessly to ensure Gibraltar stays safe it is imperative that we work together and share the burden that has been forced upon us.
In response to questions by the Chamber of Commerce, the Government has confirmed this morning that “Distributive trades” as referred to in yesterday’s announcement most definitely includes “shops and general retail” except supermarkets and grocery vendors.
The Chamber and the GFSB particularly welcome the announcement by the Chief Minister that where the Government is the direct landlord of commercial premises, the Government will waive all rents for the second quarter of the calendar year 2020.
The Chamber and the GFSB fully endorse the call by the Chief Minister on private landlords to waive at least 50% of the rent due in the second quarter of the calendar year for businesses in these sectors. We encourage landlords to go beyond the 50% set as a minimum by the Chief Minister. Now is the time for landlords to share the burden and keep Gibraltar’s best interests at heart.
The Chamber and the GFSB ask that commercial landlords be as flexible as possible with their commercial tenants at this time, at least until the worst of the crisis has passed. Given the sudden and severe deterioration in trading conditions every one of us will be forced to make sacrifices to help others who are not in a position to do so. All assistance which landlords can give will help local businesses to continue.
The boards of the Chamber and the GFSB will continue to work with the Government and look at additional measures which may be needed.