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7th July 2020, 20:27

Government welcomes EC approval of measures to support business through COVID-19

The Government has welcomed the European Commission's approval of its measures to support business and employment through the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes after the Commission announced it had approved the measures under the Temporary Framework on state aid it adopted in March to support the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

The European Commission says it's approved an approximately £100 million "umbrella" scheme to support enterprises of all sizes in Gibraltar.

It highlighted that under the scheme, Gibraltar authorities could grant public support in the form of limited amounts of aid, guarantees on loans, and interest rate subsidies for loans, as well as investment into infrastructure and research towards tackling the coronavirus.

The Commission found that the scheme was "necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state", and met all the conditions of the Temporary Framework on state aid.

The measures to allow for loan guarantees were announced by the Gibraltar Government in May.

In a statement, Number Six says the amount involved is an estimate of the cost of the measures, and includes the £24 million guarantee taken by the Government to Parliament. For the avoidance of doubt, and following reports in the Spanish press, it pointed out that it is not a £100 million grant awarded by the EU to Gibraltar.

In response to GBC questions, Number Six said the measures approved by the EU do not include the BEAT COVIDscheme, which, it said, did not require EC approval as it is a "generic scheme ... to assist the employees of all business sectors in Gibraltar."

The Government says in its analysis of the measures, the European Commission has treated the economy of Gibraltar - which, together with the UK, is currently in the post-Brexit transition period - in the same way as that of an EU member state. Fabian Picardo said the EC's approval of these measures is an "important underpinning" of the work done in Gibraltar to secure its businesses and their employees during this difficult period.