“energy Crisis Unemployment”, Gas Bills… Here Is The Government Plan

The government is expected to decide on support measures to deal with the energy crisis this Friday. For companies, it is a question of crisis unemployment. As far as households are concerned, there is talk of a targeted reduction in gas bills and an oil check.

From left to right, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Alexander De Croo and David Clarinval. – Belgium.David Coppi

Political journalist

By David Copi

Published on 09/14/2022 at 16:35Reading time: 3 mins

Srelieve households by reducing their energy bills? The measures taken so far (such as the introduction of the social energy tariff) no longer make a difference, more is needed. And it’s moving, it seems. The European Union is preparing to act via a cap on excess profits and a contribution from oil and gas groups (see elsewhere). A double operation which could contribute decisively to the financing of the measures envisaged, on the floor below, by the various governments of the Member States. Including Belgium. Where, we are told on rue de la Loi, the federal government should indeed decide on Friday. This after the “advances” recorded in kern, or select ministerial committee, which met this Wednesday between noon and two p.m.

What to expect? With regard to so-called “energy-intensive” companies (those whose energy costs represent at least 3% of total production costs) which stop or suspend their activities, they will be able to activate the mechanism of “energy crisis unemployment”, or unemployment temporary economy. This is the covid model. Here, workers, workers and employees will receive 70% of their remuneration, with a supplement per day of unemployment equal to 6.10 euros. There would be consensus between partners, but caution all the same, the formula, put forward by the Minister of the Economy, Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS), remains under consideration in intercabinets. Companies, always, and here again under examination: the deferral of social security contributions, the moratorium on bankruptcies – David Clarinval, MR, Minister for the Middle Classes, had submitted a working note to the government in this regard – or even the right -gateway for SMEs.

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Energy crisis: Belgium’s plan to avoid gas shortages

German style

As far as consumers and households are concerned, the Vivaldi partners are planning, it is confirmed, to implement a “German-style” measure consisting in granting a volume of gas at a fixed and reduced price. It is the first choice of Alexander De Croo, head of government. In other words, it will result in a lower bill. All partners agree. Its magnitude remains to be determined. Technicians in ministerial offices are hard at work. As we have said, the capping of excess profits on a European scale as well as the possible contribution of oil and gas groups, all of this should help.

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Energy crisis: in Soignies, “people are afraid of tomorrow”

The same Vivaldi partners are less in agreement, however, we are told, on the “targeting” of the aid granted. Beneficiaries of the social tariff will be counted, in principle. Also, at the other end, the wealthiest, that is, the incomes integrating the last deciles in terms of taxation. Some – the Minister of the Economy was thinking of a reduction in withholding tax – had proposed to operate, via general taxation, a reduction in taxes therefore. But several partners are reluctant to take a structural, lasting measure, preferring an express operation, one-shot, according to a crisis timetable, and this will probably be the chosen option. This again: it is a question of allocating a second oil check, for 225 euros.

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