Coronavirus worsens budget deficit for City of Brussels
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Coronavirus worsens budget deficit for City of Brussels

Credit: Belga

Coronavirus is causing the City of Brussels’ budget surplus of €95,000 it had set for 2020 to turn into a deficit of €12.5 million, Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said at the municipal council on Monday.

The fight against the coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in expenditure of €3.3 million, though the city also managed to save €1.5 million, leading to an actual increase in expenditure of €1.8 million. At the same time, the City lost €10.7 million in estimated earnings.

“This is a significant but measured deficit,” Close said. “Our aim is to guarantee the maintenance of public services and jobs in this sector and to support the economy of our city.”

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The budget deficit will likely continue in 2021 as the coronavirus crisis continues. In fact, Close called a 2021 budget deficit “inevitable” but said he hoped to keep that deficit “as limited as possible.”

The Brussels Region as a whole has been heavily-affected by coronavirus. It currently accounts for 13.8% of all cases in Belgium, and for 17% of hospital cases. The daily average of new cases over the last seven days is currently 812.7, which is a 51% drop compared to the week before.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times