Thursday, March 24, 2005

Community Care Payments will not be stopped, say Gibraltar Government

EU challenge - Gibraltar Government will vehemently resist suggestions that there is any discrimination in the local social security system on the grounds of nationality, a Convent Place spokesman has said.

Responding to reports regarding the EU challenge to the Community Care payments, their spokesman declared that there was no question of these payments being stopped to residents of Gibraltar.

Earlier this week it emerged that the European Commission had written to the UK authorities in connection with the claim by former Spanish workers for the payment of revalued pensions, and an additional complaint by ALPEG related to the non-payment of Community Care.

Mayor of La Linea Juan Carlos Juárez had also claimed that these payments known as the Housing Cost Allowance, were now under scrutiny in the European Comission, allegedly on the grounds that they were discriminatory because they required residence for payment and were based on nationality.

In reply to questions from GBC (Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation) a Gibraltar Government spokesman said:

“The Government has not yet received any official information or details relating to the apparent decision. The Government knows only what it has read in the Spanish press and will comment when it has official and detailed information. In the meantime we can say that our position on Spanish pensions is well known and will not change, namely if Spanish pensioners are entitled to a revaluation of their pensions, then the UK must pay.”

“In relation to Community Care, this is not a Government entity and the Government cannot dictate to it. But even if it could do so, there would be no question of stopping Community Care payments to residents of Gibraltar.”

“In relation to the apparent EU challenge the Government firmly denies and will vehemently resist any suggestion that there is any discrimination on the grounds of nationality in our Social Security system.”

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