So, what’s it going to cost?

Figures contained in the policy statement drawn up by the new secretary of state for the budget Eva De Bleeker (Flemish liberal) prove interesting reading, though when the figures get to these large amounts they do seem rather hard to relate to. Fact is the corona crisis and all the measures taken will have to be paid for and any shortage of cash will clearly have an impact on other expenditure.

According to the budget secretary, add up all the cash Belgium’s various governments and authorities are spending on combating the corona crisis and supporting the economy this year and you end up with the figure of 17.5 billion euros. Had the figure been in Belgian francs you would already have had me worried.

At present, Ms De Bleeker anticipates that next year the corona crisis is set to cost the Belgian taxpayer 3 billion including 2.1 billion borne by the federal authorities and social security.

This year the Belgian federal authorities expect to fork out 12.8 billion euros to pay for corona measures and support.  The Flemish government plans to spend just over 2.7 billion, the Francophone community and Walloon Region 1.5 billion.  The Brussels Region expects expenditure linked to corona of 443 million euros, while out east in German-speaking Belgium the extra expenditure is forecast to reach 33 million euros.

The total is 17.5 billion and corresponds to 3.9% of GDP or national output.

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