German finance minister wants to extend economic aid beyond pandemic


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BERLIN — German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to extend economic aid introduced during the coronavirus crisis beyond the pandemic, he told the Handelsblatt business daily.

“Even if the pandemic is largely over by the summer, many people will still need support this year. And they should get it,” said Scholz, who is running as the left-leaning Social Democrats’ chancellor candidate at September’s federal election.

However, Scholz rejected the idea of a further economic stimulus program, telling Handelsblatt: “Our policy is already very expansive. For this year, I expect good growth, perhaps even better than many believe.”

Last week, the German government raised its growth forecast for Europe’s largest economy to 3.5% from a previous estimate of 3% as it expected household spending to support the recovery once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Scholz also rejected tax cuts for companies. (Writing by Paul Carrel. Editing by Mark Potter)