Flemish Government announces a raft of measures to help businesses

The Flemish Government has announced a series of measures designed to help business that have been impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis. 

The new measures have come on top of earlier measures announced by the Flemish Government to help businesses and the population at large get through the economic impact of the lockdown measures.

When the measures were announced the Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (nationalist) also stressed that it was important that the public continues to closely follow the measures in force to help curb the spread of COVID-19 

An extension of the win-win loans system

One of the measures is the extension of the so-called “win-win” loans system. Family members or friends that lend money to a small or medium-sized business will be given a tax break. Soon the amount that will be able to be lent in this way will be increased to 75,000 euro for loans of 5 or 10 years.

In future the percentage of the loan for which the Flemish Government will stand as guarantor will be increased to 40% of the sum that still has to be repaid. Currently this is 30%. The new rules will apply to all such loans agreed before 31 December 2021.

In future, each business will be able to lend up to 300,000 euro in this way. Currently the limit is 200,000 euro. 

Traders can lend money to pay rent

Retailers (and others) whose businesses are closed or have been closed due to the COVID-19 measures, but have had to carry on paying rent will be able to lend a maximum of 25,000 euro to enable them to pay 1 or 2 months’ rent.

The loan will only be granted if the owner of the retail premises agrees to no charge rent for 1 or 2 months too. This means that a period of up to four months can be bridged while the trader gets back on their feet. 

Subsidy system for service cheque companies to run for longer

In order to help companies that provide domestic assistance payable by so-called “Service Cheques” to get back on their feet and for their workers to be able to do their jobs in safety, the Flemish Government has extended the period during which such companies will be given higher levels of subsidy until the end of June. However, subsidies given to these companies in June will, while still being higher than normal, still be lower than they will be this month. 

Good news for civil servants

Civil servants that had taken a career break, but have been coming into work during the crisis to help with the extra workload,will be able to resume their sabbatical. The Minister responsible for the Flemish Civil Service Bart Somers (liberal) thanked those civil servants that had done this. The federal measures on parental leave will also be extended to Flemish civil servants.

Meanwhile, the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) confirmed the agreement made earlier this week on Flemish Government funding for municipal and city authorities to provide child care for children of parents that have already returned to work.