GIBRALTAR’S Chief Minister has branded comments made by Ed Miliband as “unfair” after the UK Labour leader suggested that Gibraltar was a “tax haven.”
Fabian Picardo has said that the slur would be used by the Spanish press “as a rod with which to beat us,” and has called on Miliband to clarify his comments.
In a letter published in the Guardian newspaper over the weekend, Miliband delivered an ultimatum to the leaders of British overseas territories and crown dependencies. He said that if Labour win the election in May, they would have six months to throw open their books and agree to publish a register of the real owners of shell companies. If the territories refuse to do so, they will be referred for “global blacklisting,” Miliband warned.
Chief Minister Picardo has responded by saying that he first heard about the blacklist threat via the media, saying it appeared like a “gimmicky and headline-grabbing initiative that may turn out to be wholly counterproductive.”
Speaking to Sky News, Picardo said: “I think it is important to be very discerning about what Gibraltar represents. Gibraltar is not just an overseas territory, it is also an important part of the EU. Therefore the standards that apply in respect of financial services and their provision from Gibraltar are exactly the same standards that apply in respect of London, in respect of Frankfurt and the rest of the EU. Therefore it is quite unfair to characterise Gibraltar as a tax haven.”
Mr Picardo said that any threatened blacklisting could not happen as it would require a breach of an international agreement to produce a register, which does not exist.
He said that Mr Miliband’s comments have already been picked up by some Spanish press and stated: “Unfortunately they are revelling in the fact that this latest issue arises between two labour parties with strong historic links.”