Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Rock is a hard place

The fact that Gibraltar is still British is a running sore with the Spanish government who are now trying to up the ante by asking the British government to take Gibraltar out of talks regarding sovereignty.

The contrast between Gibraltar and its neighbour is stark.

Gibraltar has a GDP of just over £1 billion, growth is expected to be over 4% this year and unemployment is almost nil. Businesses in Gibraltar are booming. By comparison Spain has an unemployment rate of over 20% and expects growth this year to be in negative figures.

However we must remember that Spanish workers in Gibraltar earned £43m in 2007 – the most recent data available – which would be repatriated to Spain and  Gibraltar businesses imported £174m worth of goods from Spain.

Gibraltar makes its money through offshore finance, tourism, its port and online gaming – and an enticingly low corporate tax rate of 10 per cent has brought businesses flocking to their shores.

For certain, the people on the Rock do not want to be considered Spanish and why should they be? They hope that David Cameron will defend their rights in talks with Mariano Rajoy unlike Tony Blair who came close to conceding joint sovereignty when he was Prime Minister.

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