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Govt confirms over £6m in BEAT payments during April

The Gibraltar Government paid out more than £6 million in respect of BEAT Covid payments during the month of April, the Minister for Financial Services Albert Isola confirmed yesterday. 

Payments totalling £6.2 million were paid out to 6,073 inactive employees and self-employed persons during the last month. 

Some 540 applications under the BEAT Covid scheme were rejected. 

This comes as the Government also begins to look to its next set of measures to help the business community amid the ongoing public health emergency. 

This includes a new set of furlough regulations for the excluded sector, which were published on Thursday. 

This means that firms who have not been able to apply for the BEAT Covid-19 regulations, because they are not in an ‘included’ sector, will now with the consent of the Financial Secretary and the Director of Employment, be able to make inactive up to 25% of their staff. 

Furloughed members of staff will be paid the £1,155 sum equivalent to the BEAT regulations or 50% of their salary, whichever is higher. The payments will be made by the employer, not the government.

“This enables these firms to reduce their cash burden by paying less for inactive employees during this period of time,” Mr Isola said. 

There are changes too to the BEAT regulations, namely a measure to enable firms to claim for 50% or 100% of their BEAT payments. 

Mr Isola explained: “We have begun to open the retail sector, we have begun to open different shops and businesses, and so there may be a case for some of those firms putting their people into part-time work, working half of the time.” 

“And so whereas before you could only apply for BEAT if it was 100% - the full month inactive - now you can be active for half, inactive for the other half and you can claim 50%.” 

“This is an important measure to continue to support businesses in Gibraltar that are beginning to come back from lockdown and being eased open to ensure that they have some support  in this difficult as we begin to work towards the ‘new normal’”. 

The Government has also agreed on changes to the Insolvency Act to protect businesses from being put into liquidation during the period of pandemic. 

The Bill, which will be published in the coming days, will also protect Directors who have a liability if the company is technically insolvent.

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