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BUSINESS

Rise in Italian businesses going bankrupt

Despite signs of economic growth across Europe, there has been a boom in business failures in Italy this year as the country struggles to overcome the current crisis.

Rise in Italian businesses going bankrupt
The number of businesses filing bankruptcy proceedings has jumped by nearly 6 percent in a year. Photo: Garry Knight/Flickr

According to research by the Chamber of Commerce of Monza and Brianza, around 6,500 businesses filed bankruptcy proceedings with the courts in the first six months of 2013 – 5.9 percent higher than in the same period in 2012.

Around 126,000 businesses have launched legal proceedings related to either failure or bankruptcy in the courts, the chamber said.

And it is not only new businesses that have been hard hit by the slowdown.

Between 2008 and 2012 around 9,000 firms, which had been operating for more than 50 years, closed their doors.

In some regions the rate of collapse was particularly alarming and the highest level was recorded in Lombardy, the region surrounding Milan, where 1400 businesses filed proceedings with the courts in the first half of 2013.

More than half the businesses had been established between 2000 and 2009.

In Tuscany the number of business failures was 33.8 percent higher than last year, while in the southern region of Calabria the rate was up 31 percent.

In the northeast region of Trentino Alto Adige, traditionally an industrial powerhouse, the rate of collapse was up 26.9 percent.

“At this difficult time the country can recover by valuing young entrepreneurs and supporting innovative startups on the one hand and by safeguarding established companies that have led development,” said Carlo Edoardo Valli, the chamber’s president.

“So it’s up to organizations to identify ways and ad hoc initiatives that support company production despite the crisis.”

Last week the eurozone emerged from recession after a record 18 months of economic contraction.

The bloc's GDP grew by 0.3 percent in the second quarter of 2013, slightly ahead of forecasts, the Eurostat agency said.

The growth was fuelled by promising economic activity in Germany while Italy’s GDP slid 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2013.

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MONEY

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.

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