Government increases financial aid and simplifies rules

21/04/2021 (15:05)
Press release

Affected businesses have already received 57 million francs from the Basel-Stadt financial aid programme. Because of the continued Covid-19 measures and the federal decisions, the Government has increased financial aid by a further 12 million francs. Together with the federal funds, a total of 237 million francs is now available to businesses with headquarters in Basel-Stadt. The rules were also simplified at the same time. The Basel-Stadt regulation is more generous than the federal ordinance on three points.

The complete revision of the Basel-Stadt financial aid ordinance had already been announced. It has now been passed by the Government. One key point of the new ordinance is the different way of calculating support for financial hardship: The AIA wage bill for 2019 used to be the deciding factor. Entitled businesses will now receive a fixed proportion of the loss in turnover suffered, assessed at a flat rate. On the basis of the new cantonal Covid-19-Ordinance, a business can calculate the amount of its compensation itself.

The Basel-Stadt regulation is more generous than the Federal Government in the following areas:

  • Businesses receive financial aid after a loss in turnover of just -20 % (and not after a loss in turnover of -40 %).
  • The deciding fixed rates are generally higher in Basel-Stadt than in the Federal Government ordinance. For example, a restaurant in the Canton of Basel-Stadt that has suffered a loss in turnover of 100,000 francs will receive 31,000 francs in compensation for financial hardship. The federal rate provides for 25,000 francs in compensation.
  • In Basel-Stadt, businesses are eligible if they have an annual turnover of 40,000 francs, not 50,000 francs as required by the Federal Government.

Applications that have already been submitted will automatically be assessed according to the new ordinance. Any additional documents that are required will be requested. Businesses do not have to submit a new application. If payments on account have already been made, they will be taken into consideration in the financial support payment due and the difference will be paid out automatically. When the financial support scheme ends, businesses will be given a detailed statement of the amount and calculation of the payment they have received. 

According to the new regulations, large businesses with a turnover of more than 5 million francs will be fully subject to federal law regulations. Their financial support will therefore also be calculated in accordance with Federal Government guidelines. In the case of businesses with turnover of less than 5 million, cantonal law defines eligible businesses, certain minimum requirements for eligibility and the flat-rate fixed rates. The maximum limit of 20 % of the average annual turnover for 2018 and 2019 still applies for financial support payments. However, the Federal Government has clearly increased the absolute maximum amount per business of 750,000 francs to 1 million francs for businesses with a turnover of fewer than 5 million francs and to 5 million francs for businesses with a turnover of more than 5 million francs.

In total, a good 57 million francs have already been paid out to Basel-Stadt businesses, around 15 million of which came from the cantonal fund for tackling unemployment, the crisis fund.

More than 520 businesses have currently received financial support from the financial support scheme. They are mainly restaurants, retail trade businesses, leisure business such as fitness centres and dance studios, and hotels. Catering businesses, businesses from the trade fair and event technology sector, travel businesses, showmen, market traders, restaurant and hotel suppliers and taxi firms are also entitled. The expert committee continues to make decisions on a weekly basis on completed applications that have been submitted, using an accelerated process. 991 applications have so far been submitted to the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs. For 656 applications, the decision and the payment have already been made or will be made soon. It has been necessary to reject 82 applications so far. The main reason for this is that many of the rejected businesses were already heavily indebted before the Covid-19 pandemic.

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