Czech Govt website provides overview of aid available to counter inflation, uptake has been slow
The Czech state has prepared a website called the "Umbrella against Inflation" (Deštník proti drahotě) where it summarizes the aid available to different groups in the population due to price rises and will allocate approximately CZK 100 billion [EUR 4 billion] from the budget this year for the anti-inflation measures; the information portal was created to make the situation more transparent and to serve as a guide on how to claim eligibility for it. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) announced the portal last week after the cabinet session.
According to Fiala, the cabinet has had to deal with high prices and inflation from their onset at the end of last year and "the lavish behavior and policy of the previous Government had an indelible share" in the phenomenon. He pointed out that the situation has deteriorated and is further deteriorating as a result of Russia's war on Ukraine.
The latest data from the Czech Statistical Office show that the year-on-year growth of consumer prices in the Czech Republic has not been this high since December 1993. Inflation in April accelerated to 14.2 percent from 12.7 percent.
Electricity prices in the fourth month of this year, compared to April last year, increased by about 30 percent and gas increased by 44.2 percent. The price of flour rose by about 52 percent and meat increased by 11 percent.
Butter was more expensive compared to April 2021 by approximately 32 percent. “We are implementing measures [to reduce the impact of price rises] systematically, targeting them, we do them to aid those who need assistance with the situation," Fiala said last week.
"We are helping seniors, those who are getting into existential problems," the PM said. "We are also trying to aid the middle class, to assist families with children, single fathers and single mothers."
In addition to basic information on the website, people will get access to the appropriate procedures to apply for aid and to the forms to use; the highest amount mentioned concerns an increase in pensions in January and June, which will cost CZK 47 billion [EUR 1.9 billion]. The taxpayer's discount for this year will require CZK 12 billion [EUR 500 million], and for one-time support of families with children the Government counts on CZK 10 billion [EUR 400 million].
For businesses and companies, just one form of aid has been listed so far, the Energy Guarantee program. That is designed for small and medium enterprises from chosen industries where energy expenditure exceeds 10 percent of total operating costs.
Businesses can access between CZK 1 million - 10 million [EUR 40 000 - 400 000] on a loan with a guarantee of up to 80 percent of the principal. The National Development Bank launched the program on March 31 and received no applications in the first three weeks.
Professional unions say they had anticipated demand for the loans would be low. Associations of small and medium-sized enterprises and tradespeople had previously said companies do not want to borrow money, but do need to save it.
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