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Govt calls for efficiency but rents empty office space, GSD says

Govt calls for efficiency but rents empty office space, GSD says

The GSD has questioned why the Gibraltar Government is renting office space in the World Trade Center despite having empty properties available elsewhere, particularly at a time when ministers are calling for greater public service efficiency.

In a response to a parliamentary question, the government revealed that in December 2016 it had rented 522 sq m of office space at the new World Trade Center for 21 years.

The GSD said this decision was difficult to reconcile with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s call for the civil service to be more efficient.

“The Chief Minister is quick to demand efficiencies of the Civil Service and yet does not lead by example,” said Roy Clinton, the GSD MP who shadows the public finance portfolio.

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“He spent £6.5 million on refurbishing No.6 Convent Place and then in February 2014 took out a 12-year lease on 323 Main Street [site of the old Lloyds Bank] at £100,000 per annum.”

“Despite then spending £216,000 on these offices and being allocated to the Ministry for Economic Development, at 390m2 they remain empty for all to see five years later.”

The GSD MP pointed out that the government, in its 2015 manifesto, had said it would consolidate civil service offices.

Instead though, it had done the opposite, Mr Clinton said.

“The Haven, which was sold by the Government to Gibtelecom in January 2014 for £5.8m in order to raise some cash, also remains empty and boarded up,” he added.

“This government, despite now extolling the virtues of efficiency, has no concept of how to apply it to itself.”

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