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UK #COVID lending to businesses tops £50 billion

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Banks’ lending to businesses under a government-backed COVID-19 loan scheme has exceeded £50 billion, while the cost of supporting furloughed workers has increased to £33.8bn, weekly finance ministry figures showed, writes Andy Bruce.

Lending across the government’s three main programmes for small, medium and large businesses rose to a total £50.69bn as of 2 August, up from £49.43bn the week before.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has supported 9.6 million jobs and is the costliest single government COVID relief measure, has risen to £33.8bn from £31.7bn a week earlier.

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EU ready to approve new measures for economies if necessary - Dombrovskis

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The European Union will be ready to approve new measures to support its member states should the economies suffer further after a new surge in COVID-19 cases, its Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis (pictured) said on Wednesday (21 October), writes Giulia Segreti.

“We will certainly keep monitoring the situation closely and we are ready to react with new proposals, if necessary,” Dombrovskis told Italian daily La Stampa when asked whether there would be a new Recovery Fund.

Dombrovskis added that a new wave of coronavirus infections would “certainly have an effect” on the Commission’s upcoming autumn economic forecasts.

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Commission approves €39.6 million Greek scheme to support certain vegetable producers affected by coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €39.6 million Greek scheme to support producers of certain vegetables in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be open to producers of ‘Kalamon' table olives, early watermelon of low coverage and spring potatoes.

It will be also open to producers of greenhouse crops of tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants in Crete. The scheme aims at addressing the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries, thus helping them continue their activities during and after the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Greek scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid does not exceed €100,000 per beneficiary as provided by the Temporary Framework for undertakings in the primary agricultural sector and (ii) the scheme will run until 30 June 2021.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the scheme under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58929 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Commission approves €450 million Greek scheme to support companies active in certain sectors affected by coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €450 million Greek scheme to support companies active in the tourism, transport, construction and energy sectors that have been particularly affected by the measures imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The support, which will take the form of subsidized loans, will be open to companies with up to 3,000 employees in the sectors concerned.

The scheme will be financed with the resources of the Greek Infrastructure Fund (also called ‘InfraFoF'), which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Greek State. The Greek Infrastructure Fund is managed by the European Investment Bank. The scheme will be implemented through local banks on behalf of the Greek Infrastructure Fund, which also requires the banks to provide complementary financing to the public loans.

The measure aims at helping the beneficiaries address their liquidity needs and continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, i) the support can be granted only in relation to new loans; ii) the interest rates applied to the subsidized loans are in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework; and iii) the subsidized loans may be granted until 30 June 2021.

The Commission concluded that the scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the Greek economy, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules.

More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58368 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website.

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