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Government announces New BEAT 5.0

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The new BEAT 5.0 measures are targeted at those businesses that have been closed down, and further providing increased support to other firms for the month of January.

All of these new measures are in addition to the existing support that businesses have been receiving which cover the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021, as announced by the Chief Minister’s Statement to Parliament on the 10 December 2020:

The existing measures are as follows;

1. A payment of 30% of the original BEAT grant scheme;
2. A 100% waiver of payment of rates for the wholesale, retail, hotel, bar & restaurant sectors;
3. For all other sectors an additional 25% early rates payment discount (except for supermarkets and pharmacies);
4. A discount of 50% on all Government rent and licence fees, and 25% for private landlords;
5. A restriction on all rental and licence fee increases;
6. A waiver of tables and chairs licences fees on Government owned premises and a 50% reduction on private sector premises;
7. Continued import duty waiver scheme for businesses;
8. Waiver of work permit and registration and administrative fees;
9. Moratorium on Insolvency claims;
10. Bank Guarantee Scheme to enable lending to Covid related distressed businesses.


The above measures were designed and intended to assist businesses that were open and whose customers were not locked down. These measures were designed and intended to provide support as businesses were beginning to start to ramp up their activity towards the levels experienced prior to the pandemic. The tighter restrictions announced on 27 December regrettably directed a significant additional number of businesses to close down.

As a consequence of that direct intervention, Government has put together a package of further measures that is being made available to those affected businesses and more generally to increase support to others also affected by the latest lockdown. This new package of measures generally compliments and adds to the existing measures listed above and will have the effect of meeting a very significant part of the costs of these businesses during this time.

BEAT 5.0 – INCREASED BEAT PAYMENTS

The January BEAT payment for businesses that were closed by Government order on the 28th December 2020 will be increased from 30% to 100% for the month of January only.

For those businesses not required to close and who remain able to operate, the January BEAT payment will be automatically increased from 30% to 40%.
Government hopes and expects that businesses will reopen by the 31st January, at which time all BEAT payments will revert to the 30% previously being paid and these payments will continue until 31st March 2021.

MAKING A CLAIM

All businesses that were required to close down, and others currently in receipt of BEAT support payments, will receive an email from Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar inviting them to claim for these measures by completing the appropriate form that will be attached to that email. Catering and restaurant businesses are also able to apply. The deadline for receipt of these applications is 15 January 2021.
The scheme is also open to self-employed people who are working within any of the sectors that the Government have closed down.

New businesses (including newly registered, self-employed persons) from these sectors that have not previously received BEAT are also invited to apply by requesting the claim form from beatcovidgrants@gibraltar.gov.gi

To facilitate the process businesses are encouraged to complete and submit the form in Excel format.

IT MUST BE NOTED BY CLAIMANTS THAT HMGOG REQUIRES THAT BUSINESSES IN RECEIPT OF THE 100% BEAT PAYMENT HONOUR THE CONTRACTED SALARY PAYMENTS THAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO MAKE TO THEIR EMPLOYEES BASED ON THEIR TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT OR THE PAYMENTS PROVIDED FOR UNDER BEAT 1.0 FOR THOSE ON ZERO HOUR OR AGENCY CONTRACTS, UP TO A MAXIMUM OF £1,155.

Participating businesses may, however, retain any surplus solely and exclusively for meeting their ongoing business expenses.

Businesses will be required to confirm that they are up to date with their tax and social insurance obligations but PAYE (on earnings up to £1,155) and social insurance will be waived for the month of January only. This will follow the same mechanism that was adopted for BEAT 1.0.

As with previous BEAT payments, HMGoG will aim to make payments on or before the end of the month.

RENTAL DISCOUNT SCHEME

For the month of January only, the rental discount scheme will be increased from 25% to 50% for private tenancies matching the discounts being provided to Government owned premises for those businesses that have been required to close. Government sincerely appreciates the continued support of our private landlords in providing this discount. This is expected to be a temporary increase to the rental discount scheme for the month of January only.

LOAN & MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS

The Government will also be asking all lenders to work positively with any borrower who might need a one month repayment holiday in respect of business loans, mortgages or other borrowings.

WAIVER OF RATES FOR VOID PROPERTIES

Following representations made by the Gibraltar Landlord’s Association at the latest CELAC meeting, Government will be introducing a rates waiver for any business premises that are vacant and unoccupied from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021. Applications to claim this relief should be made to the Valuation Officer at LPS’s Rates Department.

The above was taken from the BEAT 5.0: GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES INCREASED BUSINESS SUPPORT MEASURES FOR JANUARY 2021 – 25/2021
https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/press-releases/beat-50-government-announces-increased-business-support-measures-for-january-2021-252021-6568

GFSB welcomes Political Framework Agreement 

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The Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses Board welcomes the announcement by HMGOG of a framework agreement for a treaty on Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU. The Federation notes that local businesses are already enjoying the benefits of what is in effect an additional transitional period, normal frontier fluidity, and the benefits of continued good and co-operative relationship with our neighbour.  Whilst any resetting of our relationship with the EU will not be without its challenges, it will also come with new opportunities.  The Federation is of the firm view that rising to those challenges is by far the preferable position to the alternative – no agreement and the only hard border caused by a hard Brexit in Europe – an outcome which would have had a significant negative impact on local business.  The Federation looks forward to considering the details of the framework agreement and any resulting treaty.

A spokesperson for the Federation commented “The improved frontier fluidity that a future agreement will deliver, will bring huge potential benefits to our members both in terms of improving and increasing the size of our member’s customer base as well as making life easier for staff and business owners.  The possibility that mobility of goods will also be included in a future agreement will open up new markets for our members, as it will likewise bring challenges and new competition.  Gibraltar residents will enjoy unique access to the Schengen area which will no doubt prove to be an extremely attractive proposition for many, and is likely to assist in delivering continued economic prosperity for Gibraltar and indeed the surrounding area”.

The GFSB looks forward to working closely with the Gibraltar Government on their future discussions as they relate to or affect the business community. With over 350 members the GFSB represents a large number of local businesses of all sizes and has first-hand knowledge and understanding of their concerns.

catering

Compensation for the Catering Sector

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The Chief Minister stated last Friday that the Government will compensate catering businesses for their cost of goods thrown away as a result of this decision as these businesses had procured perishables for the weekend trade and Christmas period, which was expected to be busy. The compensation will be paid to those businesses within the catering sector which has followed and fully complied with the Covid Regulations.

To apply please fill in the form and email it to beatcateringsupport@gibraltar.gov.gi by the 31st December 2020 in order for the Government to consider the compensation package and make the appropriate payments in mid-January 2021.

To download the form in an Excel format please click here.

Anti Bullying guidance for small businesses

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By Fiona Young

There has been a  lot of publicity this week highlighting issues surrounding Bullying, both in schools and in the workplace. For small businesses, the issue of bullying in the workplace is a double-edged sword. 

Positives for  small businesses are that they  tend to have much closer relationships between management level and employees which does lend itself to better communication, understanding and the ability for management to work side by side with staff and be tuned into the challenges their staff face, all of which is good for a bullying free workplace.

Negative factors include over familiarity of staff leading to a lack of respect for authority; allegations of bias between staff; complacency; or a growing sense of entitlement and demand from employees wanting pay rises, bonuses, time off and other benefits. These demands particularly in an economic downturn  can put added stress and pressure on small business owners. 

Often hands-on management can be construed, when taken out of context, as being draconian or too tough, and small business owners constantly walk the tightrope of managing their employees and the business effectively and productively while ensuring they comply with their legal obligations as a considerate employer. Tribunal claims can be catastrophic for small businesses, in terms of time, cost and reputation. They also damage workplace morale (workplace disputes in small businesses are rarely possible to keep confidential)  and can mentally and emotionally devastate a business owner who feels that they have done everything correctly. 

In addition, small businesses often have to deal with “institutional” or corporate bullying – facing competition and scare tactics from larger  mainstream competitors or having to deal with overzealous governmental or union  officials.

Suffice to say, the Anti-Bullying message is one that resonates for many reasons with small businesses and yet all too often they are painted with the same stereotypical brush as larger organisations and expected to meet the same identical standards of care with substantially less resources and economic capability, yet far more at stake if things go wrong.

Top tips for small businesses to avoid bullying from all angles are:

  1. Get a good employment lawyer from the outset. Use your employment lawyer as an advisor not a protector. Employment lawyers are often frustrated with the fact that a client comes to them when a matter is at its illogical conclusion and they have not had the opportunity to assist the employer with damage limitation or prevention. Good workplace policies  to pre-empt and govern staff procedures and employer responsibilities are essential. These must of course be readily available to staff.
  1. Make a values statement regarding professional conduct and respect in the workplace and ask everyone, no matter what their role is in the workplace to contribute to the values statement. Ask your employees how they would like to be spoken to and treated. It is guaranteed they will all ask to be spoken to respectfully and kindly. Then remind them that they are also required to do the same to their managers and colleagues. That policy should also extend to customer services behaviour as happy customers clients tend to result in happy and less stressed staff.
  1. If there is a union representation, or a government agency you need to work closely with don’t see them as the enemy but as your ally. Engage with them, understand what they require of you  and also  explain to them the realities and limitations of  workplace . Every business owner wants their business to be profitable and getting the best out of your staff and hearing their concerns, implementing those that are appropriate and explaining clearly and with reasons why matters cannot be implemented when appropriate, is a step towards increasing and improving productivity. 
  1. Do not think that the responsibility for preventing bullying in the workplace is not yours. As a business owner/manager you set the tone for your working environment and it is only in your power to make appropriate changes and implement procedures that provide a safe environment for your staff. Remember they can leave a business they don’t like, as the business owner you cannot and therefore you should run your business as a place where you enjoy working. By setting a positive example, encouraging your staff to follow that example, having clear behavioural and communication policies in place; rewarding positive behaviours and constantly reminding those employees in engaging in negative behaviours that those behaviours do not tie in with your business culture – you will begin to eliminate undertones of interstaff bullying and in so doing minimise the likelihood of claims against you as an employer.
  1. Finally, there is no quick fix for the David and Goliath corporate bullying scenario – it is a reality of the business world and an extra challenge small businesses face. However as a small business you have the advantage of being empowered to create the positive work environment admired by staff and clients alike, you have the flexibility and manoeuvrability to implement changes where needed and dialogue with your staff and clients directly to gain their input. By creating a friendly, enjoyable positive place to work you are more likely to attract high calibre employees who stay for longer and are committed to building your business in-line with your vision of profitability and growth. Therefore rather than trying to compete with the larger corporations or challenge any attempts they make to take business from you, use your size, flexibility and close customer and employee relationships as a tool to offer an alternative to the big corporate machine. As someone who is only just touching 5 foot in height I can definitely say that substance far outweighs size every time. 

To download a PDF of this please click here.

The Nautilus Project – Gibraltar Sustainable Awards

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The highly coveted #GibraltarSustainableAwards were held on Wednesday 8th July 2020 at the University of Gibraltar for the second year running and in collaboration with the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses
Nine of the many entries submitted were shortlisted, each carefully chosen for their outstanding green credentials. The diverse representation was a true testament to how the #Gibraltarian 🇬🇮 community is engaging with our environment.

Gibbeau won the Award For Innovation
Eroski Center Gibraltar was recognised as The Green Business Leaders
Europa FC was presented with The Sustainability Team Of The Year award
Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park was praised for their Environmental Stewardship
Playtech took The Daring To Be Greener Award
Rotary Club of Gibraltar achieved The Green Beacon Award
OTWO collected The Sustainability Influencers Award
S.M. Seruya received The Sustainability Vision Award
Hassans scooped up the major prize of the night and collected The Gibraltar Sustainable Business Award 2020

Our thanks to all the participants and our congratulations to all these worthy winners!
Plans for the 3rd Gibraltar Sustainable Awards are already underway.

SDGG – Shop Window competition

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The Self Determination for Gibraltar Group (SDGG) is reminding the general public of the Shop Window competition as part of the National Celebrations for 2020.

Closing date is Friday 21st August.

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