Belgium’s francophone Socialist Party (PS) has relaunched a proposition of a €750 bonus for those who kept working throughout the lockdown in essential functions, as PS president Paul Magnette told francophone radio station Bel RTL on Thursday.
A bill will be tabled in parliament to this effect, Magnette suggested. The premium could be paid by the employer and then be deductible from the corporation tax, he offered. “There could be a state intervention,” he mused.
It is “fundamental” that we “thank and reward those who have worked during the crisis. Self-employed or employees, it doesn’t matter,” Magnette said. He also proposed a bonus €200 for “all those who are currently below the poverty line.”
“A major social crisis is looming,” according to Magnette. “We’re suddenly seeing an explosion in demand for food parcels,” he said, adding that “a different kind of public” is now coming to charity food places like Les Restos du Coeur. This new public includes students who can no longer rely on extra jobs in the hospitality industry.
The €200 bonus for the most vulnerable is “a much-needed economic stimulus measure,” he continued. “It’s an investment with a return effect. Helping these people means enabling them to consume more locally, and therefore also helping our merchants. The person is going to spend these 200 euros, which then goes into the economy.”
The PS had already called for such an economic stimulus at the end of April, when PS leader in the House of Representatives Ahmed Laaouej said as much in an interview with La Dernière Heure.
The Brussels Times