Germany says to distribute November lockdown aid to firms fast

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz speaks during a session of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, September 29, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will ensure financial aid gets to firms and individuals hit by a partial coronavirus lockdown in November quickly, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Thursday, outlining further details of the 10 billion euro (9.03 billion pounds) programme.

Europe’s biggest economy closed bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theatres and domestic tourism on Monday for a month. The government has said small and medium-sized firms will be able to claim compensation worth 75% of their revenues from November 2019, up to 1 million euros.

Aid of more than 1 million euros has to be agreed by the European Union.

“I want the November aid to get to those who are hit quickly. In this crisis, we must stand together so that we can get through the pandemic relatively well,” said Scholz.

In a joint statement, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the conditions for aid had been agreed and payments should take place by the end of November, if possible.

Firms directly affected by the partial lockdown and those who can prove that 80% of their revenues come from those companies forced to shut would be eligible for support, said the ministers in a joint statement.

Individuals will also be entitled to aid.

The German economy grew by 8.2% in the third quarter as it started to recover from its worst-ever recession, caused by the pandemic. Economists expect the economy to stagnate or even shrink again in the fourth quarter, however, due to the new lockdown measures.

Reporting by Madeline ChambersD; editing by Jonathan Oatis