COVID-19 aid measures: the ACA publishes the updated data on the federation and the provinces
Today, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) published its report „COVID-19 – Structure and Scope of the Financial Aid Measures: Data Update“.
The report gives – as did already its predecessor from June 2021 – a systematic overall overview of the structure and scope of the financial aid measures of the federal government and the provinces to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
An interactive graph, which is available at rechnungshof.gv.at/COVID19_interaktiv_2022 in German, provides for the opportunity to retrace the financial flows as well as each aid measure. Filter functions enable users to make queries – for example, broken down by service area and local authority. For the period of March 2020 to June 2021, the figures were recorded on a quarterly basis. This allows for a chronological presentation of the aid measures.
The federation bore the lion’s share of the aid provided
By June 2021, the envisaged overall volume of all federal financial aid measures amounted to EUR 73.585 billion. Compared to the first survey result of 30 September 2020, it had increased by 44 per cent.
By June 2021, the de facto granted financial aid totalled some EUR 34.481 billion in Austria. Of this amount, the federation bore the lion’s share: EUR 33.492 billion. The provinces provided an overall amount of EUR 989.87 million.
The federal aid measures generating the highest disbursement amounts by 30 June 2021 were the following:
- Short-time work – EUR 8.588 billion (area: labour market),
- COFAG (COVID-19 Federal Financing Agency) turnover loss bonus – EUR 2.408 billion (area: economy),
- COFAG lockdown turnover compensation – November – EUR 2.261 billion (area: economy),
- Hardship Fund – EUR 1.841 billion (area: economy),
- COFAG lockdown turnover compensation – December – EUR 1.016 billion (area: economy), and
- COFAG fixed costs subsidy – EUR 0.987 billion (area: economy).
Labour market: aid measures increased continuously
As revealed by the interactive graph, the expenses related to the labour market increased continuously and reached EUR 2.915 billion in June 2020. One year later – in June 2021 – the financial aid targeted at the labour market amounted to EUR 9.133 billion. More than 78 per cent of the planned volume had therefore been granted.
Considerable variety in the provinces
The federation and the provinces adopted a total of 528 different financial aid measures, of which three fourth were non-repayable grants. The provinces implemented 413 financial aid measures. The type and scope of the measures were shaped by a considerable variety.
Expenses for education per province
By June 2021, the federal government provided a total of EUR 62.81 million in grants and in-kind contributions for education. Vienna spent EUR 129.55 million. As shown by the set of tables, a large part of such grants (almost EUR 98 million) was related to subsidies for kindergartens. Upper Austria spent EUR 25.35 million for the area of education. The province of Lower Austria provided EUR 2.35 million in grants and EUR 1.74 million in kind, e.g. COVID-19 self-tests. Carinthia had budgeted EUR 4.50 million for education and granted financial aid of EUR 1.09 million. Burgenland completely waived its own financial aid measures in the field of education.
As regards the federation, the largest share of aid measures concerned the COVID-19 set of measures for schools (policy package for remedial lessons).
Arts and culture: largest share borne by the federation
The arts and culture sector was supported primarily by the federal government with grants and in-kind contributions amounting to EUR 204.13 million. Vienna spent EUR 6.43 million. The planned volume was exhausted by 100 per cent.
With a budgeted overall volume of EUR 6.7 million, Tyrol provided grants of EUR 3.51 million, followed by Lower Austria with EUR 2.38 million. A large share of the subsidies granted by several provinces was related to work and arts scholarships. Against a budgeted volume of EUR 2.60 million, Upper Austria granted de facto EUR 0.35 million.
At the federal level, EUR 127.70 million were allocated to the COVID-19 bridging fund for freelance artists.
Liabilities and guarantees: the federation took on EUR 6.630 billion
As at 30 June 2021, the federal government had earmarked liabilities and/or guarantees amounting to EUR 10.675 billion. Of this, 60 per cent – i.e. around EUR 6.630 billion – were de facto granted. The provinces had earmarked EUR 364.31 million in guarantees – the lion’s share, namely EUR 300.31 million, was to be paid by Upper Austria. In fact, Upper Austria was liable to the extent of EUR 0.31 million in the form of a deficiency guarantee for small and medium-sized businesses.
The provinces provided a total of EUR 13.23 million liabilities and/or guarantees.
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COVID-19 – Structure and Scope of the COVID-19 Financial Aid Measures: Data Update (in German)
In June 2021, the ACA presented to the National Council, the provinces and the Vienna City Council its report “COVID-19 – Structure and Scope of the COVID-19 Financial Aid Measures: Data Update” and published it.
The report was the result of the survey carried out by the ACA in all federal ministries and provinces on the structure and scope of the financial aid measures that the local authorities had adopted in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in the audited period of March 2020 to the cut-off date of 30 September 2020.
Due to fact that the pandemic continued to impact all sectors of society also after the above-mentioned cut-off date, the local authorities proceeded with the financial aid measures. Consequently, the ACA updated the survey result with the aim to present the further development of the financial management of the federal government and the provinces with regard to the COVID-19 aid measures until the end of the first half of 2021. The objective behind this update is to make a further contribution across all levels of government to the transparency of the use of public funds and to take into account the related concern for information of the general public.