Flemish government proposes distribution of emergency fund

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The Flemish government of Jambon increases the emergency fund for compensation for corona damage to 265 million euros. It is largely the municipalities that will decide which organizations receive how much compensation. “It will not be possible to compensate every euro of damage,” warns Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA).

The Flemish government has provided an emergency fund to provide financial assistance to specific sectors that have been seriously affected by the corona crisis. “A global decision was made a few weeks ago to earmark 200 million euros, now we are further in time and have more insight into what corona has economically done,” said Jambon.

The fund is increased to 265 million euros. “It is money that is directly transferred, which should not be repaid,” said Jambon. In addition, 31 million is also allocated to loans.

Culture

“Those who love culture are terrible times,” said Jambon. ‘Concerts and theater, it all stops. That cuts deeply, also financially. ‘ That is why EUR 65 million of the emergency fund was released for the culture sector. The culture department will distribute this, but smaller cultural organizations will also be able to receive subsidies through the municipal fund. Municipalities receive an amount that they can freely spend on sports, youth and culture.

“This will not be enough to make up for all the damage, it would be prohibitive and irresponsible,” said Jambon. “But we can help institutions that were healthy before the crisis so that they can flourish again.” An emergency decree was also passed before the crisis so that regular grants can continue, even though there may be no achievements.

For the distribution of the culture emergency fund, the 411 structurally subsidized organizations are first looked at. All structurally subsidized organizations are now given the opportunity to submit a claim file. This application is recalculated on the basis of a number of criteria, own income, subsidies received, personnel costs, operating costs, depreciation, financial costs and the support to vulnerable players, such as suppliers, self-employed persons and day contractors.

“It is the intention that the vulnerable organizations also get those rights to their rights,” said Jambon. “Supporting vulnerable players is an explicit condition for obtaining support from the emergency fund.” These damage files will be checked in March 2021. Literature Flanders and the Flemish Audiovisual Fund will also be able to draw from the emergency fund, with the intention of supporting the relevant actors, such as production houses and authors. There is also extra support for Cultuurloket and Hefboom. “We also try to support freelancers and small self-employed people with great needs,” said Jambon.

Non-subsidized, non-commercial organizations in the heritage sector, socio-cultural work, amateur arts and the arts can receive a subsidy through the municipal fund. “The local authorities are closest to the local field and know these organizations best.”

Almost 100 million euros for local fabric

In total, the government is allocating almost 100 million euros to support the local social fabric, says Minister of Sports and Education Ben Weyts (N-VA). ‘We want to prevent local associations from capsizing due to the lack of income and going through fixed expenses. Because that combination could be fatal. ‘ 87.3 million is divided by the municipalities between sports, culture and youth associations. “It is now best for the municipalities to estimate how to distribute this,” says Weyts. “We cannot compensate every euro, but it is mainly a sign of appreciation.”

Flemish Minister of Internal Affairs Bart Somers (Open VLD) further clarified that these funds are not reserved for organizations that already receive subsidies. “Associations that have worked on their own so far are also eligible.”

In addition, another 10 million euros will be allocated to sports federations and organizers of sport events. “We want to intervene where the needs are highest,” says Weyts.

Schools

As Minister of Education, Weyts also said that EUR 5 million has been allocated to the IT costs of the schools. The schools are also compensated for canceled trips, such as the planned Rome Easter holidays. For the costs for things like handles and extra cleaning costs, a fee will be determined later.

Media Minister Benjamin Dalle (CD&V) reports that EUR 3.8 million has been earmarked for VRT, and another EUR 3.8 million for regional broadcasters. The Flemish Audiovisual Fund and a number of smaller players can also count on additional resources. This concerns 1.9 million and 500,000 euros respectively.

‘Eating more fries is not enough’

€ 10 million has been earmarked for the affected potato sector, authorized minister Hilde Crevits (CD&V) said. “We have called for eating more potatoes and chips, but that is not enough. We estimate that there are 880,000 tons of potatoes in stock, of which 330,000 to 400,000 cannot be processed. ‘ The agricultural sector can count on a total of EUR 35 million.

Mobility

De Lijn can count on most resources for mobility. Because the number of bus travelers had even fallen to 5 percent at one time, 35 million euros are being released here. A total of 47 million has been earmarked for the other actors. EUR 31.5 million of this goes to the bus and coach sector. Another important part, of 12 million euros, goes to the taxi sector. Slightly less than half a million are earmarked for initiatives in the sharing economy. The smaller airports can also count on a few million euros together.

Mathematics

The Welfare department cannot draw directly from this emergency fund, but Minister for Welfare Wouter Beke (CD&V) says that major efforts have already been made in that sector. “ For example, we ran regular funding, offset usage receipts in childcare and other sectors, provided compensation for protective equipment and infrastructure costs, launched a mental wellbeing action plan, and took care of the redistribution of protective equipment, ” he said.

Finance Minister Matthias Diependaele (N-VA) closed the press conference with the calculation of all those measures. ‘The amount in the emergency fund is higher than the initially planned 200 million euros. In total, we are at 296,425,000 euros. ‘

Correction: The budget of 35 million euros for De Lijn is separate from the budget of 47 million euros allocated to Mobility.



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