Blümel: "Federal Finance Ministry's Coronavirus Hotline guarantees swift and unbureaucratic assistance
In order to combat the consequences of coronavirus for the economy as swiftly and effectively as possible, the Austrian federal government has put together a package now totalling a substantial EUR 50 billion, which is being expanded and calibrated on an ongoing basis. This is intended to save companies and the associated jobs, relieve the pressure on individuals and promote investment. Since the numerous measures also give rise to many questions, at the very beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the Federal Ministry of Finance set up a hotline in order to provide the best possible support to businesses.
"Since the beginning of the crisis, we have launched numerous assistance measures for various target groups, and in some instances created entirely new instruments. This naturally also entails a greater need for information, and around 75,000 enquiries via e-mail or telephone provide clear evidence of this. It is important to give swift and unbureaucratic support so that Austrian citizens and companies are able to find the right support measure for them. I wish to express my thanks to those employees who have shown their utmost dedication in this regard since the beginning of the crisis. Through their work, they are making an important contribution to leading Austria as effectively as possible through these exceptional times and providing assistance to people," declared Finance Minister Gernot Blümel.
Since 20 April, the hotline number 050 233 770 has provided information relating to tax relief, short-time working, the hardship fund, assistance fund, and the package of measures to support the hospitality industry. Around 69,000 telephone calls have now been processed, with 99% of questions being resolved immediately. Callers to the hotline can expect an average waiting time of only around 30 seconds, and on average, issues are resolved within two minutes, with the majority of calls currently relating to the fixed-cost grant and the investment premium. At the beginning of the crisis, questions mainly related to the hardship fund, then to assistance loans and guarantees, as well as short-time working.
The hotline is available from Monday to Thursday from 7:30 am until 3:30 pm and on Fridays from 7:30 am until 12:00 pm; in addition, written enquiries may be made using the contact form on the Austrian Finance Ministry's website or by writing to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. So far, over 6,000 people have taken advantage of this service.