The first day of the Canary Islands deadline period for requesting direct aid for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and self-employed (Autonomos) saw 1,147 claims processed through the four chambers of commerce throughout the autonomous community “and endless calls” aimed primarily at resolving questions and doubts. The extraordinary financial aid measure, launched by the Canary Islands Government, has an budget of €84 million, aimed at alleviating damages within the sectors most affected by the covid-19 pandemic response and, according to the regional president, Ángel Víctor Torres, and the Minister of Employment, Elena Máñez, will take effect in “a few days” time.
Of the more than 1,000 files presented on March 10, 369 were from self-employed people without salaried employees, for a line of aid endowed with a budget of €18 million. 778 applications were from small and medium-sized companies and freelancers with employees, for whom €66 million has been set aside, according to data provided by the Chamber of Commerce of Gran Canaria.
The bulk of the “endless calls” received on Wednesday at the chambers of commerce were aimed at resolving doubts, especially regarding the justification for losses being claimed against. To access the funds, companies are required to have suffered a drop in income of at least 30% and need to demonstrate cessation of activity. In addition, as indicated by the Lanzarote Chamber, many businessmen wanted to know the possibility of making these aids compatible with subsidies offered by other administrations. A total of 220 calls were answered on Wednesday and the numbers are expected to increase over the coming days. The application deadline lasts for 20 days from march 10 to April 8 2021.
The Fuerteventura Chamber reported the same large number of enquiries last week. Its president, Antonio Rodríguez Marichal, indicated that 45 applications were processed on the first day in a day when “the phones did not stop ringing.” He described the Government initiative to have the chambers to manage these subsidies as “real success” due to their permeability in the business fabric of the islands and hoped that they can also be collaborating entities to help channel the 11,000 million of aid announced by the State
A special phone line number has been enabled to answer all these calls regarding direct aid, 900 909 519, which is attended by almost 120 people from the four chambers of commerce, who received an intensive training course. Almost half of the staff (57) are in the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Chamber, which serves the four islands of that province, while another 39 staff are on Gran Canaria, 10 on Fuerteventura, and 12 on Lanzarote.
Despite the significant increase in the volume of calls registered, according to the Ministry of Employment “there were no serious problems” during the first day on Wednesday March 10 although they did acknowledge that there were “intermittent cuts” on the Government websites where applications are entered. However, according to some users who tried to do their processing directly, the pages were without service “for hours.”
The deadline for submitting direct aid applications will be open until April 8 and files that are correctly completed will be attended to in order of arrival. Subsidies can be obtained by companies that prove a loss of income of at least 30% in the last semester of 2020 compared to the previous year and the amount of the same – which ranges between 1,000 euros and 25,000 euros – will take into account number of employees of the applicant company. The €84 million that the Government of the Canary Islands has advanced to alleviate the damages incurred by SMEs and the self-employed will be charged to the European Union’s “React program”. Another €80 million will be added to this item to pay the IBI property taxes of tourist establishments.
? Importante ‼️
Las solicitudes de ayudas se pueden presentar a partir del 10 de marzo y exclusivamente por estas dos vías:
✅ Autónomos sin personas asalariadas:https://t.co/jJCmoR5K4K
— Economía Gobcan (@EcoGobCan) March 9, 2021