BUDGET GLOOM TOMORROW

*toughest budget in 34 years likely tomorrow
*Will it deal with deficits and huge debt adequately?
*Inflation will lead to further pay demands in public sector
*Likely introduction of income tax on pensions, increased income tax on individuals and companies, possible capital tax on property speculations, increased duties, fees, and municipal charges
*All will be revealed tomorrow

GIVEAWAY BUDGETS A THING OF THE PAST

It is polite to suggest that the budget tomorrow will be the toughest in 10 years, as the Gibraltar Chronicle hails in its headline. It will likely be the toughest in at least the last 34 years.

What the Chronicle does is smooth the way to the inevitable unpopular financial measures that Fabian Picardo’s GSLP-Liberal Government will be forced to take by the financial reality being faced now.

ENOUGH TO COVER DEFICITS AND DEBT

Yet the question will remain whether the Budget provisions will do enough, not only to deal with current deficits, but also the huge public debt that successive governments have piled on us. It is a debt that has increased recently by the £500 million guaranteed by the UK, with that guarantee expiring in early December 2023.

Ever since Sir Peter Caruana’s GSD Government was first elected in 1996, Budgets have been giveaway ones, and borrowings have been increased to unaffordable amounts. Even Sir Joe Bossano’s ‘wise ‘rainy day’ fund was soon depleted fully by Sir Peter’s GSD Government. Thereafter no government has been careful either about expenditure or borrowing, hence where we are today.

INFLATION PAY DEMANDS

Additionally, we now have the same issues that are prevalent in the UK, namely rising inflation with the inevitable pay increase demands and trade union action, both in the main in Gibraltar currently coming from public sector quarters.

The realities that there is no money available, and that public sector pay is about 30-40% higher than in the UK will have little or no bearing on preventing the call for increase to meet inflation. The demand for more will be there for all to see, irrespective of affordability.

WHOSE FAULT?

The GSLP-Liberal Government point the finger of fault at public finances having been hit by and debt having needed to be increased due to Covid-19 and Brexit uncertainty.

Those are both realities, but, as the GSD point out, the impact has been made much worse by bad financial management and hugely increased public borrowing, both being the fault of the GSLP-Liberal Government.

To make matters worse we are also now faced with the adverse economic effects caused by Gibraltar being placed on the ‘grey list’ by the Financial Action Task Force, which will have unwanted unfavourable consequences on public revenues.

The fact remains that whilst the GSLP-Liberal Alliance have been in government no measures have been put in place to safeguard Gibraltar against harmful events reducing public revenues.

WHAT WILL THE BUDGET BRING?

Nothing is yet in the public domain about what the budget measures will be, but monies are needed by the government to pay its way. There are not many avenues open to it. It can increase what there is, bring those who are not taxed into the tax net and/or it can introduce new revenue raising measures.

Currently pensioners earning big pensions are not paying tax, which makes many of them better off than when they were in employment. That cannot be right, or fair to those working for a living. Income tax will likely be charged on pensions that exceed the tax-free allowance, and other allowances, applied to all payers of income tax.

The likelihood is also that income tax will go up for higher earners, but that does not mean the rich. For reasonable amounts to be raised, those increases must penetrate much of society, except the truly low earners. An increase on income tax payable by companies seems inevitable also.

It may be that a new capital tax will be charged on real properties that are not first homes. The reality is that the over-heated property market needs to be calmed down. Taxing it will not only raise revenue, but will also dampen down speculation, which is currently widespread.

Care must be taken, however, that any such capital tax should not be retrospective. It would need to be imposed on increases in value accrued after the measure is introduced.

We have already seen the imposition of new charges, prescription charges are an example, the likelihood is that more new charges may be found, but certainly increases on current fees and import duties are likely, especially to ease the way into the Gibexit deal.

Finally, the world-wide increase in fuel costs justifies increased electricity and water charges. It may be that those increases will not raise revenue, but any needed subsidisation will be eased.

We will find out tomorrow, how accurate the above suggestions will prove to be.

27th June 2022

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo is tomorrow expected to deliver “the toughest budget” since the GSLP/Liberals were elected to government in 2011.

The Gibraltar Parliament convenes at 10.30am on Tuesday for the start of a budget session against the backdrop of public finances devastated by the impact of Covid-19 and slow recovery amid continued Brexit uncertainty, travel disruption, rising inflation and international upheaval caused by the war in Ukraine.

People close to the budget planning process indicated that tomorrow’s session would be “the toughest budget of his time in office”.

The same sources suggested the budget will have to seek ways to increase income to public coffers “from traditional sources of government revenue”, raising the possibility of increases in different taxes and charges for public services.

“There are likely to be very few, if any, giveaways in this year’s budget,” one official said.

The stark nature of this year’s budget session was already flagged earlier this year.

In May, Mr Picardo revealed that the deficit for the last financial year would be £55.3m and that net borrowing had increased to £652m after cash reserves “just shy” of £120m.

Those figures are usually released during the budget debate.

But Mr Picardo said at the time that he had taken the decision to release the deficit figure on the same day he circulated to MPs the 300-page Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2022/23, which sets out in detail his administration’s spending plans for the next 12 months.

The GSD said it had arrived at “a very different analysis” of Gibraltar’s financial performance for 2021/22, insisting the real picture of borrowing was £50m higher once the Covid-19 overspend was factored in.

The budget debate will put a spotlight on long-standing differences between the Government and the Opposition on the GSLP/Liberals’ handling of public finances.

The Gibraltar Government has consistently highlighted the unforeseen impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, not just in terms of the cost of the response but also the impact on revenues in key areas of economic activity such as tourism.

But the Opposition, while acknowledging the effect of Covid-19, insists that the Gibraltar Government has badly managed public spending, racking up debt to record levels including through government companies that make it hard to see the full picture.

The budget session this year comes against the backdrop of the final phase of ongoing negotiations for a UK/EU treaty on the Rock’s future relationship with the bloc.

It comes too just days after the global money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, placed Gibraltar on its ‘grey list’, a decision that could have ramifications for companies operating here despite assurances from the Government that the Rock will comply with FATF recommendations within a year.

Unions and local NGOs have also warned of the impact of the rise in the cost of living on lower-paid members of the community.

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Unite has said that the cost of living crisis for workers “has just got much worse” in light of the Chief Minister’s 2022 budget speech.

The union says that, in a budget that promised few or any give-aways it has “proven to be a budget of take-aways from workers” in the midst of a mounting cost of living crisis. Whilst the union says that there are “headline positives” such as the public acquisition of AquaGib, the purchase of St Bernard’s Hospital and inflationary increases in the minimum wage, old age pension and disability benefit, the underlying measures “will hit working people and their families.”

Unite Gibraltar stated: “This was never going to be an easy budget; however the Chief Minister’s budget delivery was punctuated with positive economic indicators pointing to a strong economic recovery and an eventual return to surplus. These are the points that Unite have repeatedly made in terms of a long-term economic plan. However we have witnessed a budget that heaps the majority of the burden to repair the public finances on working people.

“The last cost of living increase announced was during the pre-Covid 2019 budget. Aside from a commitment to address any parity issues with UK public sector workers, who themselves have experienced over a decade of wage austerity, there is no cost of living rise within the 2022 budget. The cost of living increase not only drives salary increases in the public sector, it also acts as a benchmark measure for private sector pay rises. Instead we have seen an effective and further real terms pay cut when taking account of inflation, coupled with further increases in the cost of utilities.

“The Chief Minister confirmed that the Gross Trading Profits of Companies grew by 10.5% over the year, with real average annual earning falling by 4.6%, indicators that would point to inflation being driven upwards by company profits, not workers’ wages. In addition to increasing the cost of utilities and applying wage restraint by announcing no cost of living increase there is also the announcement of increased personal tax for two years, an effective triple whammy for workers.

“Whilst workers face increased personal tax, against a drop in real average earnings, employers enjoying a double digit percentage increase in profits are presented with a £25 per week Covid Recovery Charge. This is a payment that is applied equally regardless of the size of employer and regardless of whether profits are thousands or hundreds of thousands. The additional tax paid by workers in both the public and private sectors via the increase in personal tax will dwarf the £25 per week Covid Recovery Charge paid by employers.

“Unite actively supported measures through Covid that both protected workers and businesses to ensure that there was an economy to rebuild post-Covid, but this budget appears to be asking workers to dig deep and for employers that record profits in the hundreds of thousand or greater to pay an additional £1,300 a year as a Covid Recovery Charge. Workers kept Gibraltar going during Covid and now they are being asked to pay for the crisis. Unite submitted a public sector pay claim which Government have not responded to, the outcomes of this budget and the impacts on working people will be discussed and debated with our shop stewards and workplace representatives to consider the collective union response to this escalating cost of living crisis”.

Here’s the full text of the Chief Minister’s 2022 Budget address:

Mr Speaker, I have the distinct honour to move that the Bill now be read a second time.

Introduction

2.Mr Speaker, this is my nineteenth budget address as a Member of this Parliament.

3.It is my eleventh budget address as Chief Minister.

4.Mr Speaker, in moving this Second Reading, I have the honour to present the estimates of Government’s revenue and expenditure for the year ending 31st March 2023.

5.I will also present the out-turn for Government’s revenue and expenditure for the year ended 31st March 2022, which was the tenth full financial year of a Socialist Liberal Government since we took office.

6.Mr Speaker, given that it will lace much of what I will say, I should remind the House that this debate comes some almost exactly SIX years after the decision of the British people in a referendum to leave the European Union.

7.That makes obvious the reality that most of our time in Government has been spent dealing with BREXIT.

8.Additionally, the challenges of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine now scar the economic performance of all nations, ours included.

  1. I will, of course, Mr Speaker, explain in greater detail in different parts of this address how each of these challenges afflicts us.

Preliminary Remarks

  1.     I consider that it is therefore incumbent on the Government – in the face of these mammoth challenges - to continue to act in this Budget as we have in the past, in a manner that is both responsible and prudent.  
    

Continued at the link.

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28th June 2022

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announced increases to taxes and utilities on Tuesday as he delivered a tough budget aimed at tackling a £55m deficit in public finances in 2020/21 and Covid-19 borrowing that this year alone was double the forecast amount at £135m.

As net borrowing rose to a forecast £652.9m, Mr Picardo said the measures sought to raise government revenue while avoiding austerity and hardship, adding the increases in key areas were far lower than similar steps being taken by other countries.

Some of the increases will be in place for only 24 months and measures will put in place to protect those who cannot afford to pay higher fees for essentials such as water and electricity, including a means tested utilities credit.

For most people in Gibraltar, he said, the increases would represent “an imperceptible amount”.

He was clear the measures would be unpopular, but insisted they were necessary and the right thing to do at this time after two years during which public finances were battered by Covid-19, and against the backdrop of global uncertainty as a result of the war in Ukraine.

There were no giveaways “because there is nothing to give away”, the Chief Minister said.

“Some of these things are difficult and they’re certainly not popular,” he added.

“But these are the responsible and prudent measures we have to take [and] they are measures that will help us in the long term.”

The key measures announced included:

• For the next two years, all tax rates in the Allowance Based System and the Gross Income Based System will increase by 2%. That means anyone earning over £25,000 on the GIBS system will be taxed at 27% instead of 25%. Below that level, the average rate will be 19% instead of 17%, though the lowest earners will not pay tax if they are below the threshold as is currently the case.

• Water and electricity will increase by 8% and will be fixed for at least the next 12 months, representing an increase to the average monthly bill of £4.37. Beyond that, electricity and water tariffs will increase annually on April 1 by the cost of living percentage.

• As of July 1, all fees charged by any government department including licence fees and forms will increase in line with inflation, currently estimated at 8%.

• The minimum wage will also increase by 8%. That means an extra 60p to £8.10 per hour, or £16,855.75 annually for a 39-hour week, an increase of £1,221.48.

• The state pension and disability benefits will increase by 8%, while government occupational pensions will rise by 2%, as has been the case for the past 20 years.

• Every company will pay a Covid recovery charge of £25 per week for the next two years, levied as part of the annual return collected by Companies House. The fee will be passed on to the government with no deductions.

• As from August, visitors will have to pay a £3 sustainable tourism tax per night for a stay in Gibraltar. All revenue from this hotel levy will be paid into the Climate Action Fund and invested into projects such as sustainable mobility and preserving biodiversity. As from April next year, cruise passengers will also be charged £1 as an environmental levy.

• Waivers on import commercial duties and flat rates on personal imports introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic will be revoked as from June 29.

• Changes to petrol pump fuel tariffs introduced earlier this year in response to rising fuel prices will be extended to the end of September and kept under review.

• Rules for Category 2 residents will change to require payment of tax in advance, thus addressing situations where some individuals have left Gibraltar with outstanding bills that are hard to chase. Tax rates for Category 2 individuals will also increase by £5000.

• There will be a tax on full savings income including pensions, interest, dividends and other passive income for individuals who are resident in Gibraltar but are not in employment or in possession of a CAT2 or HEPPS certificate.

• The personal tax rate beyond £105,000 will be a flat rate of 25%, addressing an anomaly in the GIBS system that meant people earning more than £500,000 paid 18% beyond that level, and 5% over £700,000. This, Mr Picardo said, was a GSD-introduced measure that was “not socially just” and meant someone declaring £1m paid tax at 17.6%, while someone earning £30,000 paid an effective tax rate of 18.3%.

• There will be no windfall tax but the government will take steps to ensure companies do not use “creative tricks” to reduce their tax bills. An amnesty was announced up to December 31, 2022, during which companies that have underdeclared or been “over creative” with deductions can voluntarily review their returns. At the same time, tax officials supported by a secondment from the UK Treasury will review situations where they believe businesses have underdeclared, and will chase payment as well as impose penalties and interest.

In delivering the budget, Mr Picardo spoke of “prudence and responsibility” at a time when Gibraltar’s public finances were decimated.

Anticipating criticism from the Opposition about his handling of public finances, he said his government had spent money on schools, parks, affordable housing, a university, boosting the teaching and nursing complement, and sporting facilities, among other such initiatives.

“That is not lavish spending,” he said.

But Covid-19 had placed a huge strain on Gibraltar, which had supported businesses so they could mothball their staff and activities in order to resume as soon as restrictions began to be lifted.

Mr Picardo said the economic data suggested that strategy had worked, with the preliminary estimate for GDP in 2020/21 calculated at £2.41 billion, just £25m below last year’s forecast.

The GDP forecast for 2021/22 is for £2.59m, surpassing the pre-pandemic level.

Mr Picardo said too that employment levels had remained steady at around 30,403 jobs in October 2021, while unemployment was negligible.

Indicators such as these suggested Gibraltar’s economy was back on track and doing “remarkably well”, Mr Picardo said.

But the issue now was to address the deficit and unexpected borrowing that had been necessary in order to support businesses during lockdowns and pay for healthcare as part of Gibraltar’s response to the virus over the past two years.

“This GDP bounce back reflects that economic activity is coming back and shows that our economy is strong,” the Chief Minister said.

“It’s our public finances that will now need to be nurtured back to health.”
Budget data published on Tuesday shows the government forecasts net public debt as of March 31, 2022, at £652.9m, up from actual net debt a year earlier of £555.9m.

“The debt is going up because we are plugging the deficit with borrowing,” Mr Picardo said.

“What has driven us to deficit is the three-fold aspect of the deployment of public money to pay those forced out of work by the closure of businesses; the closing of our economy and other economies, that deprived us of revenue at the same time, to a position from which recovery will take some time; and the additional myriad expenses of Covid.”

Mr Picardo said money had been spent to plug the gap in government revenue, a gap that was still evident and was shown in the deficit.

The impact of Covid-19, he added, had been exacerbated by the global disruption caused by the war in Ukraine and, for Gibraltar, by continued uncertainty over the Brexit negotiations.

“We are not in this situation because we built a school, built a primary care centre or built new, affordable homes,” he said.

“And the measures we will take today, tough and painful though some may be, have a clear purpose and signify a clear direction out of these difficulties.”

“Getting back on track. Getting back to growth. Getting back to surpluses.”

“Balancing the books, which is what our right-thinking citizens want us to do.”

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30th June 2022
Gibraltar is on a “public finance knife edge” balanced only by increased borrowing that has buried the community “under a mountain of debt”, GSD MP Roy Clinton told Parliament this week.

Mr Clinton said Gibraltar was running a deficit of £55.3m and that official gross debt stood at £797.7m, but that the true picture of public finances was much bleaker when “hidden indirect debt” was factored in.

He estimated that debt channelled through government-owned companies had reached £990m, putting overall gross debt at just under £1.8 billion.

And he said only a part of this could be attributed to the impact Covid-19.

“Of this amount of £1,787.7 million, only £350 million can be said to be attributable to the Covid-19 response at best,” he said.

“This Government has truly buried Gibraltar in a mountain of debt and it should be ashamed of itself.”

Mr Clinton said the government should lead by example but was showing no control on unnecessary costs.

He said, for example, that ministers and government officials had flown club class 40 times in the space of six months and that, having doubled the cost of prescription charges, the Chief Minister then flew business class to see the Pope.

It was, Mr Clinton said, “champagne Socialism at its worst”.

He was critical too of the government’s renting of offices, including new premises for the housing and business ministers at a combined annual rent of £215,000.

“This Government has completely mismanaged the use of the public office space it inherited upon coming into Government,” he said.

“Instead of maintaining and renewing space it owned it embarked on a piecemeal disposal and move into expensive private sector accommodation.”

“The Government sold the Haven to Gibtelecom in 2014 for £5.8 million, more or less what it cost to refurbish No.6 to the Chief Minister’s expensive tastes.”

“The Haven has largely remained empty since then and is now up for sale by Gibtelecom to repay the £3.6 million mortgage used to buy it.”

“Meanwhile the DSS offices collapse into a state of disrepair causing a move to New Harbours and the rental of more private sector space in the ICC for the vacating Housing department at an annual cost of £237,000.”

“The least visited departments of Government namely the Audit and Statistics department have brand new offices in the World Trade centre on 21-year leases at an annual cost of £194,000.”

“The cost of rental of office space by the Treasury department has rocketed from £ 2 million in 2011/12 to £10.5 million in 2021/22.”

“This Government needs to make better use of its existing resources before splashing out on more lavish private sector rentals at the taxpayer’s expense that inevitably increase recurrent expenditure.”

Mr Clinton repeated longstanding concerns about transparency of public finances and delays in the publication of Principal Auditor’s report due to outstanding supplementary appropriations.

He was critical, as he is every year, of large sums of public money being channelled through government-owned companies, some of which had not filed accounts or disclosed how the money they received – in one case, totalling £82.5m over six years – was being used.

It was, Mr Clinton said, “a failure of leadership on transparency which speaks volumes”.

The GSD MP scoffed at government efforts to cut waste and abuse in public spending, adding there was no appetite for scrutiny by setting up a Public Accounts Committee in Parliament.

Mr Clinton reflected too on some of the budget measures announced by the Chief Minister earlier in the week.

He said the £25 weekly Covid-19 levy on companies amounted to £1,300 a year that could potentially raise up to £18m a year, but that it was an ill-thought-out move.

“This measure takes no account of the activities of the company, nor of the ability nor indeed the willingness to pay,” he said.

“The Chief Minister has strayed into the field of Trust and Companies Managers and their clients may not feel so altruistic when there are plenty of other jurisdictions to choose from,” he added, noting that the government had already said it would review the measure after receiving representations from the sector.

He asked how the government planned to spend the revenue generated by the 2% increase in income tax, voicing concern too that the measure did not target different bands and should be “weighted to higher earners rather than to all”.

And a time when the property sector was generating higher-than-anticipated stamp duty receipts, he questioned why the government had failed to tax it further.

“Indeed some may ask that the profits that property developers make should perhaps be subject to closer scrutiny or indeed a windfall Covid levy as well,” he said.

“The Government seems to have gone for the easiest tax target namely the PAYE worker who is already suffering financially.”

And he added: “We have seen that Government cannot keep to its own budget.”

“The people deserve better than to have their pockets picked because of the failures of this Government.”

“We will not vote for a budget that lacks leadership, transparency, and accountability.”

The Chief Minister, he concluded, “…lacks the leadership and financial skills to get Gibraltar through this crisis.”

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Chamber Issues Response To Budget

The Chamber of Commerce has issued its reaction to this year’s Budget. The Chamber argues that there is no commitment to rein in spending or cut out waste and improve civil service efficiency “despite millions spent on e-government.” It also says that the increase in income tax “and other stealth taxes” will be used to fund future government expenditure adding that the Covid recovery charge is “ill-thought through and affects smaller businesses disproportionately.”

A statement continued:

“It was to be expected that measures would be introduced to pay for the cost of the COVID pandemic and the Chamber was prepared to work with Government had it been consulted. However, once again the Government has sought to lumber the taxpayer and local business with additional costs with very little attempt to return Government to a balanced budget whilst its recurrent spending continues unabated. The deficit is forecast to be £55.29 million this year and £45.3 million next year. It will borrow to meet this deficit instead of seeking greater efficiencies and reducing spending which would be the more prudent and sensible approach.

“No attempt has been made by the Government to rein in its recurrent expenditure despite the sharp fall in revenue and increase in debt. Alarmingly, it announced that it is prepared to borrow to keep giving pay rises to civil servants when they are paid on average 40 per cent more than their UK counterparts. This is in sharp contrast to some employees in the private sector who will continue to have to face wage freezes.

“There is little transparency about the real state of Government finances or how much it owes directly or when Government-owned companies are included. That would have been a good starting point so that we can all be clear on the extent of the problem.

“The changes to import duty will simply encourage more people to shop online or in Spain once more as the flat duty rate of 10 per cent for personal imports has now been abandoned to the detriment of local businesses.

“Imposing an annual Covid recovery tax of £1,300 on every company is unreasonable and disproportionate. Why should a small company with one or two employees pay the same amount as a company which employs several hundred? If such a charge was inevitable, a more equitable system would have been to make it scalable and thus more affordable using the Companies Act definitions. What must absolutely not happen is that only local trading companies are burdened with this charge and those that benefit from being incorporated in this jurisdiction but do not trade locally are exempted. That would be an inequity of the highest order.

“Some of the increases announced are understandable given the “headwinds” described by the Chief Minister in his address. These include increases in electricity and water although significant increases to these services, other charges and social insurance were already introduced last year.

“However, many of the other increases are simply stealth taxes under other guises. Increases in licence fees, registration fees, a cruise passenger tax and a tourism tax will all raise some additional revenue, if the collection mechanisms are robust enough. For example, it remains to be seen how the Government expects to collect the tourism tax in respect of Airbnb rentals which are unregulated thus competing unfairly with established hotels.

“But there was little in the budget which indicated any semblance of a future financial plan for Gibraltar.

Chamber Issues Response To Budget - Your Gibraltar TV (YGTV)

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Something That We Have Been Waiting For Just Happened – It’s A Really Bad Sign…

There has been a lot of talk recently about “the death of the dollar”, but the truth is that the euro is in far bigger trouble. Inflation in the eurozone has risen to truly frightening levels, and the war in Ukraine threatens to plunge the major economies of Europe into a very deep recession. Russia holds the key, because if Russia completely cuts off the flow of natural gas to Europe it really will cause an unprecedented economic nightmare. Even now, energy prices in Europe have already soared to absolutely insane levels, and the Russians could make things much, much worse with a single decision. The Europeans should have never allowed themselves to become so dependent on Russian energy, and now they find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.

So with everything that has been going on, it shouldn’t be any surprise that the euro has been steadily falling.

In fact, on Tuesday the euro reached parity with the dollar for the very first time since 2002

The euro hit parity with the U.S. dollar on Tuesday for the first time in 20 years, meaning that the currencies have the same worth.

The euro fell to $0.9998 against the dollar, it’s lowest level since December 2002, as the euro zone’s energy supply crisis and economic woes continue to depress the common currency.

For years, I have been warning that the euro would eventually fall so low that it would be at parity with the dollar, and now that day has arrived.

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Anti-Russia sanctions ‘killing’ EU economy – Orban

Hungary’s prime minister says the EU’s response to Moscow was a miscalculation and has severely backfired

EU sanctions against Russia were “miscalculated” and could destroy Europe’s economy, unless Brussels changes its stance, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a radio interview on Friday.

The moment of truth must come in Brussels, when leaders admit they have made a miscalculation, that the sanctions policy was based on wrong assumptions and it must be changed,” Orban, an outspoken critic of the EU’s policy on Russia, stated.

He said that while Ukraine needs help, the bloc's leaders should change their strategy regarding Russia.

He added that the sanctions have failed to destabilize Russia’s economy and haven’t forced Moscow to stop the military operation. He went on to say, they have instead caused widespread damage to the EU's own economic stability.

The sanctions do not help Ukraine, however, they are bad for the European economy and if it goes on like this, they will kill off the European economy... What we see right now is unbearable,” the Hungarian leader stated.

Orban warned of an imminent recession in the EU as a result of its anti-Russia policy back in May, when he said that the current energy crisis, along with interest rate hikes in the US “have jointly brought about the era of high inflation,” which “will bring about the era of recession.

Two months later, however, he seems to have even deeper doubts about the future of the the bloc's economy.

Initially, I thought we had only shot ourselves in the foot [with anti-Russia sanctions], but now it is clear that the European economy has shot itself in the lungs, and it is gasping for air,” Orban warned.

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The Winter War

icebike

https://gatesofvienna.net/2022/09/the-winter-war/

Over the last three months or so it has become quite clear that the Western alliance has decided to commit energy suicide in order to continue to wage its lunatic proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Russia and China are being strengthened by the West’s foolhardy sanctions against Russia, and Europe will be impoverished as it shivers in the dark this coming winter.

BitChute

The Global Currency Reset Is Already Here - You Must Understand This!

The euro just dropped below $0.99 for the first time in 20 years after Russia halted gas flows

  • The euro dropped below $0.99 for the first time in two decades after Russia halted the flow of natural gas.
  • A surge in the dollar piled pressure on other major currencies, with investors flocking towards the "safe-haven" asset.
  • Analysts expect the eurozone economy to tip into a recession in the coming months as the energy crisis bites.

Russia urges allies to dump dollar and euro in trade

Moscow has called on trading partners to switch to national currencies.

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UK Police Prepare For “Breakdown in Public Order” Caused by Cost of Living Crisis

After a huge spike next month, energy bills are set to soar to around £6,522 a year by next April, a level that threatens to push a third of the country into poverty.

A leaked national strategy paper obtained by the Times reveals that police chiefs fear “economic turmoil and financial instability” has the “potential to drive increases in particular crime types.”

Shoplifting, burglary and vehicle theft, as well as online fraud and blackmail are all expected to soar as people desperately try to make ends meet, with criminal opportunists also eager to justify their actions.

Having already noticed an increase in some offences, the National Police Chiefs’ Council report cautions that “a more complex and unpredictable risk is the chance of greater civil unrest, as a response to prolonged and painful economic pressure.”

One MP briefed by local police said if the new Prime Minister, almost certain to be Liz Truss, doesn’t introduce a big enough government hand out, it would “push more people towards crime and lead to public unrest.”

“If the support doesn’t meet expectations, they would be expecting similar scenes to 2011,” said the MP, referring to the London riots which also spread to other parts of the country.

“A senior officer at one force in the north of England told a local MP that without significant government intervention they feared a return to the febrile conditions that led to the London riots in 2011,” states the article.

With over a million people vowing to stop paying their energy bills, there are also fears that large numbers would drive away from petrol stations without paying.

Emily Spurrell, Merseyside police and crime commissioner, even suggested that people who steal milk, food, or nappies for their children wouldn’t be prosecuted, an approach that hasn’t worked out so well in big American cities on the east and west coast.

Meanwhile, the government is also preparing for phone lines and computer systems to fail as a result of blackouts. An exercise code named “Noble Birch” took place which was centered around keeping Whitehall operational during a widespread power grid failure.

As we previously highlighted, energy executives in the UK warned the government that the country faces the prospect of mass civil unrest as a result of people being unable to afford their heating and electricity bills this winter.

One senior industry figure said that when people “realize how bad this is going to get,” they could take their anger to the streets in the form of violent demonstrations.

[YT video in article is also published on Rumble (as below):]

Gibraltar's Public reaction to the Chief Minister's Budget speech

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Forty-seven CEOs of European metal firms have written to the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to raise the alarm about Europe’s escalating energy crisis.

To: President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, President of the European Council Charles Michel

Cc: Executive Vice Presidents Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager, Valdis Dombrovskis; Commissioners Thierry Breton, Paolo Gentiloni, Ms. Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy

RE: Europe’s non-ferrous metals producers call for emergency EU action to prevent permanent deindustrialisation from spiralling electricity and gas prices

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