Govt regrets Opposition statement

Government says it regrets that the Opposition should once again resort to making "incorrect and misleading statements in a clear attempt to win some brownie points.

"TheOpposition should realise that publicly repeating at every opportunity, erroneousallegations based on half-baked truths and improperly researched facts, does notmake those allegations any more credible or accurate

Government stands by the statement it issued in January in relation to the case of anindividual whom the Opposition claims was denied an Old Age Pension. It is notcorrect that Mr Bossano called the Department of Social Security at the time to tryand obtain an appointment for the gentleman in question. Mr Bossano spoke to anofficial of the Department and asked who he needed to speak to in order to obtaininformation on a specific individual who had gone to see him. This information wasnot provided to him and he was asked, as is the norm, to write to the Minister

A Government press release adds: With regard to the individual?s application for an Old Age Pension, it is true that his original application was turned down. What the Opposition fails to mention, however, is that this application was made in 1994, the year that the gentleman reached pensionable age, and that it was disallowed whilst the GSLP were in office

Under the policy set up by the GSLP when the Social Insurance Fund was woundup, the EU aggregation rules could not be invoked. Therefore, although thisgentleman had not paid sufficient stamps in Gibraltar, his contributions in the UKwere not taken into account, and his claim to a pre-occupational pension wasdisallowed

The gentleman did not apply again until December of last year. Although it iscertainly not the policy of the Government, or indeed of the Department of SocialSecurity, to refuse requests for claim forms, on this occasion, the claim form waswithheld due to a misunderstanding on the part of the counter clerk. The matter wasresolved as soon as it was brought to the attention of the Department. Thegentleman?s claim has now been backdated to 1994, the date it was originallyrefused.