what the government plans to help businesses and households

Household fuel checks? Partial unemployment for companies? The government is preparing various measures to counter the consequences of the war in Ukraine for the economy.

What solutions should be implemented to cope with the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine? The management is finalizing its response. After consulting everything: from the social partners to large companies, through the most vulnerable sectors, the final arbitrations are underway. The resilience plan will be unveiled in the coming week with a clearly defined goal: above all, not to resurrect it at all costs.

There will no doubt be disappointments. Many companies are affected by this war. According to the CPME, nearly 2,000 individuals have been directly exposed, either because of their presence in Russia or Ukraine or because they export to these markets. Not to mention all those indirectly affected by rising energy prices or supply problems.

“There’s no going back to whatever it takes,” we warn Bercy.

First, for political reasons. The executive can’t multiply the checks and let government spending slip a little more a month before the presidential election. But also for economic reasons. The Ukrainian crisis is a problem of supply and not demand, spraying the economy on a massive scale would be tantamount to “burning gasoline by fueling inflation,” explains Bruno Le Maire. The unions are also on the same page for other reasons: “We want to avoid windfalls and focus aid on those who need it most,” we explain to the CFDT.

A few hundred involved companies

“This plan will be several billion euros and will affect only a few hundred companies,” said a government source. The measures will target only the companies most weakened by the crisis: those that are particularly energy-intensive or that are particularly exposed to international competition.

Among the measures mentioned, partial unemployment could make a comeback for companies that are sitting still, lacking outlets because they exported to Russia or Ukraine or because of supply problems. The employers’ organizations are pushing the executive to set up the classic sub-activity supported by the state at the height of the Covid crisis.

“A more flexible device than Prolonged Partial Activity (APLD) because it doesn’t require an agreement,” said a senior management official.

Without a doubt, the management, which encourages companies to sign long-term sub-activity agreements as soon as possible, says that it is ready for adjustments. Indeed, the APLD presents two difficulties: companies have until June 30, 2022 to conclude an agreement, and the system must not last more than 24 months. Which may be too limited for companies that have already made use of these rights due to the Covid crisis.

Another measure: the CPME is calling for the rapid establishment of repayable advances, ie government bonds, which will allow companies facing deficits to quickly position themselves to find other sources. In December, when companies were already struggling with shortages, Bruno Le Maire already planned to release 500 million euros through Bpifrance, but nothing came of it, an employer official explains.

Finally, a gesture is planned for businesses and households to cope with rising fuel prices. On the business side, the hardest hit companies, the truckers, who already salvage part of the TICPE, want to recover a larger part and faster: not every quarter, but every month. They also demand the abolition of VAT on the TICPE. “Bercy has not closed the door to these measures,” says an employer official.

A gesture for households

As far as households are concerned, all options are on the table: Will there be a new inflation bonus? “Not focused enough on the most modest households,” said a union source. The executive is also considering encouraging companies to pay for fuel coupons, a device that already exists like restaurant coupons but could be “uncapped and tax-free,” a source at the heart of the negotiations tells us.

Finally, an employer’s official argues for a tax reduction or a tax credit on the kilometer allowance. A measure that would again have the advantage of targeting the biggest drivers

Nothing has been definitively arbitrated yet, but in any case, the executive has already prepared the minds: all these measures will not be enough to completely erase the shock of this crisis.