Gibraltar government chiefs have slammed claims that Spain loses one billion euros in revenue every year due to the Rock’s tax regime.
Partido Popular Secretary of State for Europe, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, made the claims in Spain’s conservative ABC newspaper earlier this week.
In the interview he said: “The wealth that Gibraltar enjoys cannot continue to be based solely on an economy that is clearly damaging for our country and for the European Union.”
He also argued that businesses registered in Gibraltar are taking advantage of low tax rates - as there are no sales tax and a ten per cent levy on company profits on the Rock - compared to Spain’s 30 per cent.
The comments come days after European Union anti-tax fraud agency Olaf asked the UK and Spain to tackle tobacco smuggling and money laundering in the UK territory.
But in a strongly worded statement No 6 (the Gibraltar Government) described the accusations as a “financial flight of fancy”.
A spokesman said that of the 15,673 companies registered in Gibraltar, only 102 Spaniards with a Spanish address hold one or more shares in a total of 66 companies.
“This helps to clearly demonstrate that Gibraltar is, unsurprisingly, not seeing significant numbers of Spanish individuals using Gibraltar’s financial services,” the statement read.
It also added that Gibraltar’s 2010 Income Tax act has been approved by the EU, with only Spain not approving it.
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said: “The fact is that the calculation Spanish Government officials and politicians should be doing is to value what Gibraltar contributes to the Spanish economy today. Apart from the jobs we already create for the region and the saving on unemployment benefits there are also the salaries that flow from Gibraltar to Spain, the social insurance set-offs, the spending of Gibraltar residents in Spain and the supply to Gibraltar businesses of goods and services etc.
“This is a huge amount the central Government in Madrid will not contemplate; although reduced by the negative climate created by the present Government’s attitude to Gibraltar. These synergies could grow for mutual benefit and could easily net Spain over a billion euros or more a year in benefit alongside great job-creation strategies for the whole area if the Partido Popular moved on from its medieval hang-ups on Gibraltar and started to work with us for the economic good of all in the region.
“Sñr Mendez de Vigo would therefore do better to concentrate on that sort of co-operation with Gibraltar and move on from just bashing the Rock in August, which is fast becoming one of the hallmarks of this PP administration. It does nothing for the thousands of unemployed in the region who deserve better from their elected politicians.”