It’s enough, they hope. The latest economic support package, which takes effect on 1 July and lasts until the end of September, will also be the last, ministers Stef Blok (Economic Affairs), Wouter Koolmees (Social Affairs) and Wopke Hoekstra (Finance) in a statement. a letter to the House of Representatives. After that it’s enough. Very carefully they are even now making a first start with phasing out the support.
Under the favorable constellation of low infection rates, the decreasing pressure on hospitals and the rising vaccination rate, the outgoing cabinet has rapidly lifted one corona restriction after another.
This also offers more prospects for companies, the three ministers write. In the second quarter, sectors such as the travel industry, events and the hospitality industry still suffered heavily from all the restrictions. That is different now. “Although companies will still have to deal with the basic measures for the time being, it is a realistic scenario that they will make turnover independently again in the third quarter of this year.”
It had to stop at some point
At the end of May, when the new support round was announced, which will take effect this week, Koolmees, Hoekstra and Blok already hinted that state support would have to stop at some point. “Stopping too early is unwise,” said Koolmees, “but also too late.” They provided the support package with a warning in advance: if the pandemic allowed it, the cabinet might start phasing out sooner.
Also read: Emergency support will remain for a while, despite disadvantages
That promise is now becoming a reality – a little bit then. Companies that apply for a wage subsidy (NOW) can no longer do so for every euro they lose in turnover: the cabinet will reimburse up to 80 percent of all turnover losses from 1 July. The thought: anyone who still shows such red numbers can not only blame corona. “Even in a normal year, there are many companies with a (temporary or otherwise) loss of turnover,” writes the trio of ministers.
The support packages may be for companies affected by the corona crisis, but officially no distinction has ever been made between the nature of all turnover losses. Any company that lost heavily was eligible. In this way the cabinet prevented the emergency subsidies from causing delays and red tape for entrepreneurs. The ministers accepted the fact that this also kept companies afloat that had collapsed in every other year. Until now.
What’s new: extra tax deferral
Most companies don’t have that big of losses and will not notice much of the first hesitant attempt at phasing out support. On the other hand, they are getting some relief through another adjustment: at the request of the House of Representatives, companies are given more time to pay tax arrears. For a number of companies, this postponement will probably lead to cancellation: the cabinet has already booked several tens of millions for it.
The choice between extending and phasing out was the subject of discussion in the ministry towers. At the ministries of Social Affairs and Economic Affairs, the importance of job retention predominates and the support can continue without hesitation. Minister Hoekstra’s support should therefore have been further cut back, according to his ministry, for example by continuing to support only certain sectors. It didn’t get that far.
In recent months, the Central Planning Bureau and the National Bank have already called for emergency aid to continue no longer than is strictly necessary. Trade association Koninklijke Horeca Nederland reacted provocatively on Tuesday: the support from the catering sector could have continued for a while.
There is a ray of hope for them, because the three ministers are on the mend. The virus remains erratic, the delta variant is advancing. The cabinet is “keeping its finger on the pulse”, they write. And if measures are taken, the support can be given a new lease of life.