Flemish Government to stop financial aid to companies impacted by the pandemic

The Flemish Government has announced that the financial assistance it gives to businesses impacted by the measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus will finish at the end of the month. Around 2,000 businesses in our region are still entitled to assistance through the Flemish Governments protection measures. In 20 days’ time this financial assistance will cease. 

Under the measures companies that have suffer losses in turnover in excess of 60% are entitled to assistance through the Flemish Government’s business protection measures. They receive 10% of their turnover during the same period in 2019. One example of a sector that is currently benefitting from assistance through the scheme is the travel industry. Many travel agents and coach company had turnovers in July, August and September of this year that are below 60% of what they were during the same months in 2019 and as such are able to claim. The support measures. The measures had already been scrapped for companies in many other sectors.

One sector of the economy that feels particularly aggrieved by the decision is the nightclub industry. Nightclub operators feel abandoned. Gerald Claes of the Ghent Nightlife Council and dance café Charlatan told VRT News that “We were the first that had to close and will be the last that are allowed to reopen. This is why we had asked for extra support for 6 months. In addition to this we want the employers’ social security contribution to be reduced further”. Mr Claes added that it is still unclear under which conditions night clubs will be allowed to open in October. He also fears that not all former customers will find their way back to the clubs.

The Flemish protection measures have cost a total of 2 billion euro. The Flemish Employment Minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat, photo above) believes that this is money well spent.

“Very many companies have been able to get through the crisis because of this. The labour market and businesses are now doing very well again. It was a necessary measure, but there comes a time when you have to draw a line under it”. 

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