Blümel: Trusted forms of assistance for the domestic economy and jobs

Due to the high COVID-19 infection numbers and the vaccination rate, which is too low, new restrictions have become necessary, which also place a huge strain on the domestic economy. The Federal Government will therefore be supporting those businesses affected through this difficult phase as well, thereby saving domestic jobs. Businesses which infringe COVID regulations will in future have to pay back any financial assistance received.

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel commented: “We have learnt a lot about the virus over the past two years, and also which forms of assistance are particularly efficient and effective. We will use our proven tool case of measures to provide the best possible forms of support for businesses and jobs. As a result, we can get going immediately, and our businesses will get the money they need quicker.”

Some forms of assistance, such as short-time working, guarantees or the reduced VAT rate of 5 per cent in operation for the gastronomy, accommodation and culture sectors, are still in place. In addition, the Federal Government will extend or reactivate the following already proven forms of assistance:

Lockdown turnover compensation

If turnover is down by at least 40 per cent on the same month in 2019, depending on the cost structure for the sector, a compensation rate of between 10 and 40 per cent will be applied. Lockdown turnover compensation will be reintroduced for the period November 2021 to March 2022. The maximum coverage will amount to EUR 2.3 million (previously EUR 1.8m) and may be applied for from 16 December 2021.

Loss compensation

If turnover is down by at least 40 per cent on the same month in 2019, a compensation rate of between 70 and 90 per cent of the loss will apply. The loss compensation facility will be extended from January 2022 to March 2022, and maximum coverage of EUR 12 million (previously EUR 10 m) will apply. Applications may be submitted from the start of 2022.

Hardship fund

To qualify for the hardship fund, turnover must have decreased by at least 40 per cent and running costs can no longer be covered. The compensation amounts to 80 per cent of the loss in net income, plus EUR 100. The maximum coverage is set at EUR 2,000. The minimum amount is EUR 600. It has been decided that the period to be covered is November 2021 to March 2022.

Further instruments to be deployed include the NPO support fund and the event organiser support facility, which will run until March 2022. A new requirement is that every business receiving financial support must adhere to the COVID regulations, otherwise they face the threat of having to repay the monies received. If a business is given an administrative fine for breaching the rules, for example in conjunction with the 2G checks, then the aid for the month in question must be repaid.

Blümel concluded: “Businesses know these forms of assistance and how to apply for them and the competent departments are very familiar with the processing of applications, too. It will be possible to apply for certain forms of assistance in this calendar year; and there will be no change in the short processing times we have seen to date. We are also calling on businesses to honour their obligation to help combat the pandemic.”