In the quest to miniaturise photonics, it is of paramount importance to control light at the nanoscale. We reveal the main physical mechanism responsible for operation of gap plasmon-based gradient metasurfaces, comprising a periodic arrangement of metal nanobricks, and suggest that two degrees of freedom in the nanobrick geometry allow one to independently control the reflection phases of orthogonal light polarisations. We demonstrate, both theoretically and experimentally, how orthogonal linear polarisations of light at wavelengths close to 800 nm can be manipulated independently, efficiently and in a broad wavelength range by realising polarisation beam splitters and polarisation-independent beam steering, showing at the same time the robustness of metasurface designs towards fabrication tolerances. The presented approach establishes a new class of compact optical components, viz., plasmonic metasurfaces with controlled gradient birefringence, with no dielectric counterparts. It can straightforwardly be adapted to realise new optical components with hitherto inaccessible functionalities.