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Germany's November coronavirus aid package will cost 14 billlion euros - Scholz

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Finance Minister Olaf Scholz at the start of the 2019 budget debate at the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that the government’s coronavirus aid package to compensate firms affected by lockdown measures in November will amount to roughly 14 billion euros (12.56 billion pounds).

As part of the new round of COVID-19 relief measures, companies in Europe’s largest economy can get up to 200,000 euros a month to cover fixed costs such as rent, while solo entrepreneurs can get up to 5,000 euros.

Speaking to a summit hosted by newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Scholz said the government was ready and willing to help firms affected by the lockdown measures, adding that the estimated cost of 14 billion euros amounted to “a lot of money”.

Initially, the government had expected to pay out 10 billion euros (8.9 billion pounds) but it decided to expand the scope of the package so more firms and the self-employed can get aid.

Scholz said last week that Berlin has enough fiscal firepower to unleash more rescue and stimulus measures if needed to counter the impact of the second wave of coronavirus infections on Europe’s largest economy.

Germany plans to borrow more than 300 billion euros in total this year and next, but Scholz has cautioned that the government needs to consider carefully which relief measures make sense.

Brussels-based think tank Bruegel puts the total amount of non-repayable support Germany has been able to offer companies and citizens at 8.3% of its economic output - not far short of the 9.1% figure in the United States.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Adair

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