Spanish government approves aid package

A worker uses disinfectant to clean ballot boxes containing personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies at Sant Antoni Market, which will be a polling station for the February 14th regional election, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Barcelona, Spain

The Spanish government has approved an economic relief package worth 11 billion euros that includes 7 billion euros in direct aid to struggling companies affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measures, which had been announced a fortnight ago by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, were approved in an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday and aims to help three distinct areas of the economy, reports Xinhua news agency.

The package also includes 3 million euros earmarked for restructuring state-guaranteed loans and 1 billion euros for recapitalising medium-sized firms.

To qualify for help, companies must show that their revenue has dropped by at least 30 per cent since the start of the pandemic.

The money must then be used to cover fixed expenses or to reduce debts (especially with suppliers).

Government spokesperson Maria Jesus Montero told the media that the government wanted to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on production and unemployment, which has increased to over four million.

“Never before has an effort of this magnitude been made aimed at all companies and all workers,” said Montero.

Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation Nadia Calvino added that the measures aim to anticipate solvency problems in the sectors and regions most affected by the pandemic.

“We are trying to alleviate the drop in income and debts that could put the survival of perfectly viable companies at risk and consequently harm economic recovery,” Calvino added.

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