May 14, 2020 / 8:49 AM / 19 days ago

FACTBOX-Measures in latest Italian package to help battered economy

ROME, May 14 (Reuters) - Italy has approved the latest in a series of spending measures aimed at helping families and companies hit by the new coronavirus.

The package will raise Italy’s budget deficit by 55 billion euros ($59.6 billion). It also includes many measures worth billions of euros that will not impact the bottom-line deficit.

Following are some of the key measures:

MEASURES FOR COMPANIES

- The government promises to pay 12 billion euros of outstanding bills to public sector suppliers.

- It scraps the payment of a regional tax on businesses (IRAP) scheduled for June. The 4-billion-euro scheme applies only to firms with annual revenues of up to 250 million euros.

- It offers 6 billion euros of grants to various categories of small companies — a maximum 40,000 euro per firm.

- 600 million euros earmarked to lower energy bills.

- The creation of an equity fund to enable state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to help core companies in difficulty and protect them from possible foreign predators.

- Additional tax breaks to reimburse 60% of rents paid by firms with revenues of up to 5 million.

- The Treasury will offer state guarantees for up to 15 billion euros of new bonds issued by local banks, enabling the government to support the sector for up to a year.

- State aid aimed at encouraging healthy lenders to take over small failing banks.

- Measures to discourage companies from moving abroad and help them to ward off hostile takeovers.

MEASURES TO HELP WORKERS/FAMILIES

- More than 15 billion euros set aside for temporary lay-off schemes, to help firms furlough staff rather than sack them. It forbids firms from firing employees until mid-August.

- Grants offered to families to pay for childcare, coupons available to encourage people to go on holiday in Italy.

- A compensation scheme offering 600 euros for April to self-employed whose turnover has tumbled.

- Payments of between 400-840 euros per month for a maximum two months for people who have no income or pension.

- Up to 500 euros offered to encourage people to buy bicycles and electric scooters.

OTHER MEASURES

- Tax breaks for people carrying out home improvements to reduce energy consumption and comply with anti-seismic rules. Rome would refund over the space of five years 110 euros for every 100 euros spent from July 2020 until the end of 2021.

- Temporary work permits offered to irregular migrants enabling them to find jobs on farms and as carers.

- The decree cancels an automatic increase in sales taxes due in 2021. It also delays the introduction of a planned tax on plastic and sugary drinks.

- More than 3.2 billion euros set aside for the health sector, including money for hiring doctors and nurses.

$1 = 0.9171 euros Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Angus MacSwan

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