His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar notes the accusation made by Together Gibraltar against officers of the Borders and Coastguard Agency when they are carrying out their functions in checking residence and eligibility for benefits in Gibraltar.
These functions have been established since the time of the AACR Government (when they were then carried out by the BCA’s predecessors in title in this area of responsibility, namely Police immigration officers).
In respect of the grant of mandatory scholarships, the Department of Education has this year identified almost fifty cases where eligibility for scholarships is in doubt as residence is in doubt.
The BCA carry out the house checks in question in order to determine eligibility of individuals for scholarships. No ‘raids’ are carried out, as alleged by Together Gibraltar.
There is no political influence or interference in play at all in this annual exercise. This has nothing to do with the elected Government and nothing to do with the state of the public finances. It has everything to do with determining eligibility in cases where residence is unclear.
Together Gibraltar is therefore attacking the hardworking members of the Department of Education and the officers of the BCA with no justification whatsoever.
The Government fully supports the work of the Department of Education and our officers in the Borders and Coastguard Agency whose actions are proportionate and in keeping with the mechanisms established for well over forty years to establish actual residence in Gibraltar and therefore eligibility for scholarships.