French PM promises economic help for new businesses

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday that the government will launch a plan to help France’s newest businesses survive the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus health crisis.

French PM promises economic help for new businesses
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Photo: AFP

A text planning to “accompany the businesses most recently created” will be presented “sometime in June,” the PM told members of France's parliament.

The PM did not reveal further details about the plan, other than that by très jeunes enterprises he was referring to businesses created “one month” or even “unfortunately just one week” before the country went on a two month-long strict, nationwide lockdown.

France's businesses have suffered big economic losses from the lockdown, which halted the country's economy to a virtual standstill from March 17th to May 11th.

Drawing upon lessons from previous economic crises, notably 2008 which had taken France years to recover from, Macron's government launched a string of emergency schemes to help businesses cope with the massive financial losses.

Self-employed and small business owners have been able to apply for access to a 'solidarity fund', launched to provide monthly grants of up to €1,500 a month for businesses that saw their income drop during the lockdown.

Originally supposed to end in May, the government extended the solidarity fund until the end of the year for the restaurant and tourism sector – the two sectors hardest hit by the economic downturn following the crisis.
However, newly created businesses have often not been able to access the fund, because the access is given only to those having seen their income reduced by 50 percent compared to 2019, or compared to their average income the months since they were set up.
Because new businesses often struggle to even make a revenue in the beginning they are set up, many have fallen outside the set criteria.
“Companies (..) found themselves in frighteningly difficult situations, firstly because they could not rely on the past to demonstrate their viability. We plan to accompany them,” said the Prime Minister.

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