Sunday, April 5, 2020

“Now these medium-sized companies fall into a hole”

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The state is distributing billions to small businesses, and that’s not enough for you?

I agree. The programs end where the core of small and medium-sized businesses begins, for companies with more than 50 employees. We get desperate calls from entrepreneurs because they don’t get any money from banks because they have to respect their capital requirements. Now these medium-sized companies are falling into a hole.

Who are the people affected?

For example, a manufacturer of hotel textiles from the Swabian Jura, super successful in its niche, with a working business model. As a result of the shutdown in the catering and hotel industry, sales went to zero overnight. 83 employees – short-time work is not enough to survive the liquidity loss. But there is no state aid. This is a blind spot. Our petition to the federal government: please open the short-term, unbureaucratic measures also for medium-sized companies.

Should we save a manufacturer of fine napkins for luxury hotels with tax money?

No. But we are in an exceptional situation in which the state has slowed down the economy …

The state or the pandemic?

The state with the infection control measures. If there were not the complete closure of the catering trade and further parts of the trade, if there were not the ban on assembly, certain economic cycles would still work.

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Do you want to say that was wrong?

No. That was completely correct. But now it is a matter of keeping the economic infrastructure intact for times when life normalizes. Only the state can do that at the moment. And it’s not necessarily about gifts, but about bridging with liquidity. This does not create artificial demand, so it is not problematic from a regulatory perspective.

Why do you think these medium-sized companies are so important?

Most of the jobs are in these medium-sized companies. In Baden-Württemberg 95 percent of the companies have fewer than 50 employees, but only a third of the people work in these small companies. Another third works in companies with 50 to 250 employees. These are the figures from Baden-Württemberg, but they apply similarly throughout Germany. That is why we say in the direction of politics: Please do not think that you have supported the majority of the economy with the smallest.

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