Billions of euros available to companies, individuals in third coronavirus package
The Dutch government unveiled on Friday it's third support package for freelancers, independent contractors, and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The package includes 11 billion euros in financial support and 1.5 billion euros in early investment. At the same time, "Not all companies can be kept afloat and not all jobs and assignments can be guaranteed," the government warned, with one billion euros allocated for a social package.
"In the coming months, some people will lose their jobs and have to look for another job. Others will want to make the transition from their current work to other work with more future prospects. The cabinet wants to help people with this," the government said in a statement. Some of the money will go to benefits agency UWV, and municipalities to assist people directly, with other cash going to retraining and education. "In addition, the cabinet will provide extra support to people who are vulnerable in an economic crisis, such as young people and people [with an occupational disability]. The Cabinet also wants to help people with a high risk of poverty and problematic debts. In total, the cabinet is allocating more than 1 billion euros for this additional social package."
"It is again a very comprehensive package again," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "There will of course also come a time when companies may not make it after all, or will eventually have to downsize." He said it is critical that people are helped when they need to transition from one work situation to the next.
One of the key pieces of support is the NOW scheme where the government pays a sizable contribution to employers who keep workers on staff. The plan will be extended every three months through the end of June 2021. "During that period, the NOW will gradually be phased out, so that entrepreneurs and workers have time and space to adapt," the government said.
The self-employment support scheme known as Tozo will be extended through June 2021. Municipalities will also get extra resources from January to support independent contractors and small business owners with education, training, and help with re-entering the labor market if their work completely dries up.
TVL was set up to assist small and mid-sized businesses with fixed costs, and will be expanded with a higher level of support. Companies will be able to access up to 90 thousand euros every three months through the end of June. The program will be phased out gradually with business owners encouraged to pivot if necessary.
Tax deferral options for businesses will also be expanded, with no interest on late tax payments through the end of next year. The loan and credit programs BMKB-C, GO-C and KKC will all also be funded beyond their original October 1 end date.
The government said it would earmark 150 million euros to invest in scale-up businesses, 300 million to recapitalize medium and large businesses, and another 150 million euros for regional development organizations to finance innovative start-ups. A 255 million euros provision was also set aside to "co-finance EU programs aimed at regional development, innovation, sustainability and digitization."
The investments are separate from those the Cabinet will unveil next month when the budget is presented.