The Dutch government has expand some of the measures it has taken to help companies get through the coronavirus crisis, and has decided to include taxi drivers, dentists and tattoo artists in its list of self-employed professional who are eligible for support.
This means more people who either have to touch or get close to their customers will also be able to claim a one-off gift of €4,000 if they can prove their income has slumped because of the government’s anti-corona measures.
The cabinet has also set aside €12bn in guarantees to suppliers to enable companies to continue to place orders in preparation for the lifting of restrictions on movement. The fund has been put together because banks and insurance companies are becoming more reluctant to back loans.
In addition, ministers are looking at the option of placing a moratorium on mass price cuts in the retail sector until July 1, something which a majority of retailers support, economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said in a briefing for MPs.
Work is also underway on a package of measures to support start-ups, which includes expanding existing credit and loan schemes, Wiebes said.
Meanwhile Labour MPs have urged the government to do more to help staffing agency workers who lose their jobs because of the anti-corona measures.
Although temps are covered by the NOW scheme to help firms pay wages, many companies are getting rid of their temporary staff instead.
As many temps do not qualify for unemployment benefit, they are being forced to turn to classic welfare benefits, which take partner income and assets into account.
But other schemes set up to help people hit by coronavirus provide the self-employed with a basic income without assessing assets and partner income.
‘Flexible workers are the first to feel the pain,’ MP Gijs van Dijk said. ‘And they are the ones who have to sell their car or use their savings in order to qualify for welfare benefits. That is the wrong signal to be giving.’
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