Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Development minister booed for hesitating on VAT cuts

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 12 - Italy's industry minister was booed
at a business gathering Wednesday when he said he could not
promise to freeze a value-added tax.
Whistles and complaints rose from retailers' group
Confcommercio when Flavio Zanonato said he hoped the government
could avoid next month's scheduled increase in the VAT but said
there are no guarantees.
"I want to say there won't be an increase, it's not what I
want," he said, signalling that a freeze may not be possible.
The president of Confcommercio Carlo Sangalo continued to
call on the government to try hard to freeze or lower the VAT.
His group fears that higher consumption taxes will keep
Italian consumers, who are already cutting back, from further
spending.
That, in turn, could further weaken the Italian economy now
in its longest recession in roughly 20 years, the group
maintains.
Italy's Finance Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni has previously
said that the government needs "to concentrate on investments"
to boost growth and jobs, and that it is driving the 1% increase
in the top band of VAT effective next month that will take it
from 21% to 22%.
Both the VAT and a highly unpopular housing tax, the IMU,
are critically important to the government of Premier Enrico
Letta because the revenues they generate keep the country
running, said Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Maurizio
Lupi.
"I understand the difficulty, but the IMU and VAT are a
staple (of the budget) and the government will be measured with
this," Lupi said as he entered the House.
He suggested the government is looking for other revenue
sources to replace the VAT increase, but did not sound
optimistic.
Cutting the VAT and the IMU, are vital to free up spending
in the economy, argued Renato Schifani, leader of the
center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party in the Senate.
Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, founder of the PdL, has vowed
that unless the coalition government scraps the IMU, he will
bring about its collapse.

(photo: Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato)

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