The solidarity fund set up by the French government in March 2020 to support companies penalized by the health crisis will be abolished on September 30, announced Monday, August 30, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire.
On the other hand, it will be maintained, along with other support mechanisms, for the overseas departments and territories, where the health situation still imposes very strict restrictions, said the minister during a press briefing at the ‘resulting from a meeting of several members of the government with representatives of sectors still penalized by the crisis.
In front of the good shape of the French economy, the minister had already whistled the end of “whatever it costs” last week, while promising to continue “To support those who need it”. Goal : “Move from a general and flat-rate scheme, the solidarity fund, to a tailor-made scheme (…) to really help each company in difficulty ”, had thus assured Mr. Le Maire, Monday morning, on France Inter, shortly before this meeting in Bercy.
The solidarity fund will be replaced from 1er October by a mechanism allowing compensation of 70 to 90% of fixed costs not covered by revenue, in sectors whose activity remains penalized by health restrictions. He added that the device will be extended to all companies, while it was limited to those with more than one million euros in turnover.
Several meetings planned
A first meeting with, in particular, representatives of trade, tourism and events was held at 9:30 am, while the minister had promised entrepreneurs a review clause at the end of August. Mr. Le Maire was accompanied by his counterparts from work, Elisabeth Borne, SMEs, Alain Griset, and tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.
At 2.30 p.m., the world of culture, including representatives of cinema and live performance, will then be received separately by Ministers Le Maire and Griset as well as their colleague from culture, Roselyne Bachelot. The latter announced on Monday on Franceinfo a help ” tailored “ sector, mentioning, unspecified, the maintenance of “Certain cross-cutting measures” assistance to businesses, while noting that the culture sector is in a “Recovery period”.
When asked whether the aid would be allocated according to the situation of each theater or cinema, the Minister replied: ” Exactly. “ And for this, the state services go “Look at turnover and attendance” of the companies concerned, using as a reference period “What happened before the introduction of the health pass, and in relation to the years without a health crisis”.
Referring to the press sector, which has “Encountered great difficulties”, she announced an effort “For a certain number of actors and, in particular, for photojournalists and photodocumentarists”. A public order program, endowed with five million euros and piloted by the National Library of France (BNF), will select 100 of them in November and 100 in March 2022. They will receive a grant of 22,000 euros to carry out a “Radioscopy of France of the health crisis and after”. Their work will then be exhibited “At the BNF and throughout France”.
240 billion euros since March 2020
Support measures to help companies overcome the crisis have amounted to 240 billion euros since March 2020, including a third of grants and two thirds of loans, also specified the Minister of the Economy. The money given “To companies or employees to protect purchasing power, it’s 80 billion euros”, he detailed. “To that are added loans, but they are loans, it has nothing to do, economically, with subsidies, of the order of 160 billion euros, state guaranteed loans, plus other forms of loan “, added Bruno Le Maire.
He recalled that the Solidarity Fund had cost around 35 billion euros, as well as the support by the State of the partial activity, while the exemptions of charges amounted to ten billion euros.
Since the start of the health crisis, more than 685,000 loans guaranteed by the State (PGE) have been granted for an amount of 139.3 billion euros, according to the Ministry of the Economy. Other loans, in particular participatory loans, have also been granted by the State, explaining the figure of 160 billion reported by Bruno Le Maire.
The minister highlighted the good health of the French economy, which “Runs at 99% of its capacity” and the resumption of consumption to justify the end of massive aid to companies. He said PGE applications fell from 500,000 in May, when all businesses were still eligible, to 50,000 in July. The minister said he believed that the economic upturn ” will continue “, because “Consumption is well oriented”.
As for the establishment of the health pass in places open to the public at the beginning of August, it “Had no impact on the country’s economic activity”, according to him. “In bars and restaurants, credit card spending increased by 5% the week of August 9”, that of the beginning of the establishment of the pass, “And 8% the following week” compared to 2019, justified Mr. Le Maire, recognizing however “One or two exceptions”, like ” shopping centers “.