The targeted return of “whatever the cost”

” NOTe will always be there for the economic sectors in difficulty, for the companies and for the employees affected by the consequences of this health crisis. On Monday January 3, the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, announced, after a meeting with the country’s economic players, new measures to enable companies impacted by the new wave of restrictions related to Omicron to cope. A comet tail of “whatever the cost”.

Alongside his new Minister for SMEs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the Minister first recalled that companies affected by health restriction measures which recorded a drop of more than 65% in their turnover can benefit from the exceptional partial unemployment, fully covered by the State. Previously, you had to have lost 80% of turnover. Administratively closed businesses, such as discotheques, are obviously eligible by right.

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But the Minister of Recovery has above all announced that the fixed costs of companies would be borne by the State from a loss of 50% of turnover. The threshold has been lowered compared to the current system, which was set at 60%, he recalled. The assumption of fixed costs makes it possible, for example, to cover losses linked to rents, or electricity or gas bills. Until now, it was reserved for indoor sports or event companies, as well as caterers. It is now open to the entire tourism sector, i.e. hotels, cafes, bars, restaurants, travel agencies, etc. Or sectors S1 and S1 bis, according to their administrative designation. To speed up payments, which can take several weeks, because they require somewhat complex calculations, those of less than 50,000 euros will be automated and the number of agents dedicated to this file will be increased from 80 to 120. “As of January 6, the managers of nightclubs will be able to submit their file ”, for the month of December, promised the Minister of the Economy.

Bruno Le Maire also announced that he was going to work on the possibility of restoring social security tax exemptions for companies affected by health restrictions or which recorded a loss of more than 65% of their turnover. Bercy’s announcement should be made within days.

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The Minister of the Economy also noted the concern of many small businesses about the repayment of the state guaranteed loan which is due to begin between March and April for businesses that have already used the two possible grace years. The minister is in negotiations with the French Banking Federation, Brussels as well as with the Banque de France to see what can be done to relieve worried companies without taking a general measure to postpone the start of repayments. The announcement should be made in the afternoon or Tuesday, January 4.

All this aid should cost in the order of several hundred million euros to public finances, but the minister is hopeful that this will not exceed the budget of 1.8 billion remaining on what had been budgeted in 2021 for emergency aid. Nonetheless, this will further strain the accounts for 2022 when the government’s growth forecast of 4% already seems a little too optimistic.

Bruno Le Maire was reassuring, however, about a risk of disorganization of the economy due to the increase in work stoppages linked to Covid. “The response provided by the Minister of Health makes it possible to remove many fears,” he said, while the periods of isolation of contact cases have jumped for those vaccinated and have been shortened for others.

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