Germany announces new 10b euro virus package

The German government unveiled a 10 billion euro ($10.8 billion) economic package on Thursday to pay for additional unemployment benefits and new tax cuts to help businesses affected by the coronavirus, reports BSS/AFP.

The measures come as Europe’s largest economy takes it first steps back towards normality with a number of businesses opening up for the first time in a month, and politicians declaring the coronavirus “under control”.

Workers forced to stay at home by the pandemic and government measures to contain it will now receive between 70 and 77 percent of net salary from the fourth month of unemployment, a ten percent increase on previous provisions.

From the seventh month, they will receive between 80 and 87 percent. Those already unemployed will see their benefits extended for a further three months this year.

The coalition government also announced that VAT on the gastronomy sector — which has been hard-hit by closures of restaurants and cafes — would be cut from 19 per cent to seven percent for one year from July 1.

With many schools closed and expected to re-open gradually, the government also said it would provide financial support to families to purchase a computer for online lessons. 

Those in greatest need can receive up to 150 euros. The new injection comes on top of a total programme of support for the German economy of some 1,100 billion euros, consisting mainly of public guarantees for business loans.