Ministers Koolmees, Wiebes and Hoekstra spoke at a press conference in The Hague on March 17 to unveil the new financial measures to help people in the Netherlands whose livelihood is affected due to the virus.
Dutch government allocates 10-20 billion euros for coronavirus fallout
In the next three months alone, Dutch finance minister Hoekstra announced that 10 to 20 billion euros will be allocated to helping business owners and self-employed people. This will include payments to companies who suddenly cannot afford to pay out wages to their employees, particularly in shops, bars and restaurants.
There is an already existing scheme in place to aid companies in financial difficulty who need to lay off their staff, but this scheme is being replaced by the new one announced on Tuesday, due to the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19.
78.000 companies applied to the old scheme since the coronavirus crisis arose and the website was so overcome with enquiries and applications that it stalled twice recently. The new system is being devised and potential applicants are asked to “be patient”. Requests for the old scheme will be taken forward in the new scheme.
Tax deferrals and income supplements
There will be a tax deferral in the next quarter. Businesses can apply to postpone their tax payments for the quarter, without having to pay a fine.
Self-employed people without personnel – better known as freelancers – who have run into financial trouble will be entitled to a government supplement for the next quarter. This will be a massive relief since the only other option for freelancers would be using savings, of which not everybody has. The supplementary amount will be paid out, even if the freelancer’s fiscal partner has an income. The new scheme will also include those on zero-hour contracts.
Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra: “Our aim is to limit the economic effects so that people keep their jobs and an income and that the companies stay intact. But we have to be realistic and we cannot rule out that some companies will not make it.”