DUE to the uncertainty concerning the length of time that the coronavirus will affect the economy of Gibraltar, the Government has decided to convene an emergency meeting of Parliament on Friday March 20 at 11am.
Under normal circumstances it requires five days’ notice for such a meeting to take place but Chief Minister Fabian Picardo is using emergency powers in order to do this and has the support of the Cabinet as well as the opposition parties.
Put simply, it is necessary to extend the Gibraltar financial year 2019/20 from June to September in order to ensure that funds are available cover spending which would normally have been agreed in a June 2020 Budget.
In a statement issued today (March 18), Roy Clinton the GSD (opposition) Shadow Minister for Public Finance and Small Businesses said “We will support this budget amendment bill because of the extraordinary crisis Gibraltar finds itself in, while reserving our previously stated views as to the budget process.”
It is expected that the budget will simply extend the existing funding by 50 per cent and add an additional £7 million to cover additional health costs and that the opposition members will not raise questions in the House.
All political parties are cooperating and the often vicious divides between certain MPs are being put to one side in order to provide what they consider to be the safest service to the people of Gibraltar.
An additional Budget extension at some time in the future is not ruled out.