THE Gibraltar government has rubbished claims that the expansion of Parliament would take a big hit on the public coffers.
Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia told the Olive Press how backbenchers could receive ‘an allowance’ as opposed to a full wage.
It comes after Together Gibraltar suggested that the extra politicians would make the wage bill go up to £1.5m.
“This would not cost anything like that,” Garcia hit back. “The new backbench MPs could receive an allowance based on the minimum wage.”
He revealed it was a natural increase of MPs based on the Westminster model.
The Parliament Reform Bill has caused a social media furore with plans for a protest to be organised shortly.
“This is at an early stage,” said Garcia.
“The best way to see whether the proposal works or not might be to actually try it out and then take a decision after that has happened.”
On Together Gibraltar’s reaction, he said: “I think that issues which relate to the cost, the timing and the consultation have sadly been misunderstood.”
Contrary to Together Gibraltar’s campaigning, he said this matter was proposed six years ago.
“This has been under discussion since at least 2013 and was raised even earlier during the talks which led to the 2006 Constitution,” said the DCM. “One of the reasons the work of the Select Committee was held up was because of Brexit.
“When the deadline for departure was extended from April 12 until October 31, this provided a window for the Committee to meet on May 9 and conclude its deliberations.”