COVID19: Cyprus spends €1 bln to support business

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Cyprus Labour Ministry expenditure exceeded €1 bln in the first seven months of 2020 due to furlough schemes to support employees and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic fallout.

According to the treasury, the Ministry’s expenditure from January to July amounted to €1.005 bln marking an increase of €407 mln or 68% on the same period of 2019.

Ministry expenditure represented 25% of the government’s budget, whereas in 2019 it was limited to 17% when spending for the year was €1.07 bln.

In July, Labour Ministry spending reached €191 mln compared with €168 mln in June and just €90 mln in July 2019.

The Ministry’s highest monthly expenditure was in May with €238 mln when horizontal support measures were still in place.

Government spending will continue to climb after Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou announced additional measures to protect jobs and to support businesses from the Covid-19 fallout amounting to €106 mln.

Funding of €457 million includes a one-off grant to very small businesses while spending on COVID support measures from August until November is estimated at €75 mln.

Since support measures began after Lockdown started in mid-March the Ministry has subsidized income for 180,000 employees until the end of May and of over 70,000 for June to July.