Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

Parties lobby Monti to rewrite budget


Rome, October 24 - Premier Mario Monti is coming
under pressure to rewrite the budget measures contained in the
government's so-called Stability Law in opposing directions from
the parties supporting his emergency administration.
Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the centre-left
Democratic Party, said his MPs would veto education cuts
featured in the package.
"Schools have already been hit; we have to stop to reason
on how to achieve a well-made reform," Bersani said after
meeting Monti for talks on Wednesday.
Bersani recently said he feared the cuts would cost the
jobs of over 6,000 Italian school teachers.
Silvio Berlusconi, who said Wednesday he would not run for
a fourth term as premier in elections next year, reiterated that
he was unhappy about a 1% increase in value added tax and a
retroactive reduction in tax deductions for the current tax year
during a meeting with Monti late on Tuesday.
Ex-premier Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom
(PdL) party is the biggest group in parliament and therefore its
support is crucial for Monti's emergency administration to be
able to get the package approved.
The party is planning to publicly campaign for these
unpopular parts of the package to be amended, ahead of general
elections next spring.
Monti is said to have defended the bill, which also
features reductions in income tax in the two lowest bands and a
series of cuts that will hit sectors including health and
The government has said it is willing to accept some
amendments to the Stability Law during its passage through
parliament as long as the bottom line is not affected.
"There is dialogue (with the parties)," said Economy
Minister Vittorio Grilli.
"We'll keep it up. There is room for other types of
combinations (of measures) but only if the overall figures
remain unchanged".
Grilli stressed that the 1% increase in VAT was half the
hike that had previously been scheduled to come into force next
He also pointed out that the government was trying to
inject some energy into the recession-hit Italian economy by
cutting income tax in the two lowest bands in the Stability Law.
"We are lowering taxes, not consumer spending, which we
want to increase," said Grilli. "It would be good if people
started to say that we have reduced VAT by 1% (from the planned
increase) and cut income tax".
The premier has stressed though that the measures do not
amount to another austerity package like the tax hikes and
spending cuts his government passed last year to put Italy on
course to balancing its budget in structural terms next year and
take the country out of the centre of the eurozone crisis.
Grilli said on Wednesday that attaining the government's
target of balancing the national budget by next year was "a
difficult feat, but possible".

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