Berlin The demand for emergency aid for companies in the wake of the corona crisis is huge. In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, according to information from the Handelsblatt, more than 150,000 small business owners, freelancers and self-employed people applied within the first 44 hours; the state has already approved over 100,000 applications.
“This is a great success and a strong team effort in public administration,” said NRW Minister for Economic Affairs Andreas Pinkwart (FDP). North Rhine-Westphalia is the only federal state to have a completely digital process, according to Pinkwart.
The demand in the other federal states is similar to that in NRW. To ensure that aid arrives as quickly as possible, the federal and state governments have agreed on an administrative agreement for their multi-billion dollar aid package for small companies and solo self-employed persons. As a result, the federal states could call on federal funds from Monday to pay grants quickly and unbureaucratically, the Ministry of Finance and the Economy said on Sunday.
The federal government launched an emergency fund for solo self-employed and small businesses last week. Companies with up to five employees can apply for grants of up to EUR 9,000, for companies with up to ten employees there should be up to EUR 15,000. The grants are intended to ensure the survival of small companies in the shutdown phase and do not have to be repaid.
In addition, many federal states have launched their own aid programs that are intended to supplement federal aid. Many of these programs are aimed at companies with up to 50 employees, a few even at companies with up to 249 employees. A new federal rescue package is available for larger companies with 250 or more employees.
Economists anticipate a sharp economic downturn
Many associations had asked that larger medium-sized companies with between ten and 249 employees should also receive concrete help in addition to the offer of discounted liquidity loans, as is the case for smaller and larger companies. All of these aids are likely to be actively used.
Economists are now expecting a sharp economic downturn, especially after it is clear that most businesses will have closed at least until April 20.
On Monday, the Expert Council will present possible scenarios for further economic development this year in a special report. In an internal presentation for the federal government, the five economic modes were not quite as pessimistic as some research institutes.
So they continue to expect a strong upswing after the shutdown ends. For this, however, a state “initial spark” in the form of tax cuts or higher government expenditures is necessary.
Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has announced such an economic stimulus program. After the corona crisis, Scholz also expects rising wages for professional groups that played a central role in coping with the epidemic. “We will see a reassessment of wages in Germany. This also includes raising the minimum wage to twelve euros, ”said Scholz of the“ Bild am Sonntag ”.
The finance minister also announced that as of this Monday bonus payments for employees up to € 1,500 will be exempt from tax in the corona crisis. “Many employees work under difficult conditions every day to take care of us – as a caregiver, at the supermarket checkout, as a hospital doctor, behind the truck steering wheel. We should honor this commitment. “
More: Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil would like retailers to commit to reasonable collective agreements.