“Hopefully the last support package”

30.04.2021 - 14:43
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 Mynd: RÚV
Finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson says he hopes the economic package announced this morning will be the last one needed before the post-pandemic recovery. He says the treasury can afford the package, even though it is expensive.

The government this morning announced an extension to closure grants and people’s ability to withdraw from extra pension savings; as well as widening the application criteria for stimulus grants, and promising a one-off additional payment of 100,000 krónur to the long-term unemployed which will be paid in early May. Financial support will be offered to bring part-time employees back up to their original hours, and all adults can expect a new ‘travel gift’ for this summer. 

As well as these provisions, an extra 600 million krónur was also earmarked for children and young people’s mental health services, demand for which has increased during the pandemic. Special summer loans will be offered to students and extra loans for the next academic year will be available, because many are struggling to secure summer jobs. 

Everyone who receives salary-linked child benefits will receive an additional 30,000 krónur per child at the end of May. 

Bjarni says he hopes this will be the final support package required, as the accelerating vaccination programme brings the prospect of normal life ever closer. 

“I think this is the last time that we will need to bring actions tailored to the specific situation created when we need to severely restrict assembly of people. Hopefully we are going to see a more open and brighter society ahead,” Bjarni said. 

He says the latest package lowers the bar for people and companies to benefit from state support and that the treasury can afford the measures, even though he cannot put a precise price tag on them at this time. 

“It is many billions that will flow out of the treasury, especially into workplace support, but we are also broadening support actions for companies, and child support is expensive, so overall, we are talking many billions. But, as I always say with the costs, hopefully it is money well spent. The cost of doing nothing is even higher.”  

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