Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Italian retailers bemoan small-business 'massacre'

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 19 - Each day 134 shops, restaurants
and bars close in recession-hit Italy, retail association
Confesercenti said on Wednesday.
Confesercenti, which represents small and medium-sized
businesses in the retail and tourism sectors, said 224,000
enterprises had closed their shutters since the start of the
global economic crisis in 2008.
"It's a massacre," said Confesercenti President Marco
Venturi.
"Every day five green grocers, four butchers, 42 clothes
shops, 43 restaurants and 40 bars and catering business close
down".
Confesercenti gave a grim outlook on the economy stressing
that if the longest recession in over 20 years continues
throughout 2013, Italy's GDP will drop by another 20 billion
euros, bringing to a total of 126 billion euros losses
accumulated since 2008.
In the meanwhile the association says that consumption will
contract by a further 60 billion euros this year from the 85
billion lost between 2008 and 2012.
Presenting the association's annual report, Venturi also
said families and businesses were suffering from an excessively
high tax burden and called for a comprehensive fiscal reform.
Italian households in the past five years saw their income
drop by 238 billion euros, approximately 9,700 euros per family,
Venturi told the association's annual gathering.
Consumption also dropped by over 145 billion in six years,
with a loss of almost 6,000 euros per family.
In 2013, Confesercenti said, each household will suffer an
average contraction of its buying power by 4,000 euros.
Unemployment is expected to drop further, Confesercenti
denounced, reaching a total of 1.6 million jobs lost since 2008.
Venturi called on the broad left-right government headed by
Premier Enrico Letta for a change of strategy to kick-start a
dying economy.
''After five years of crisis and austerity policies, we must
switch strategies'', he said.
''Either the market and internal demand pick up or companies
will be closing at an increasingly fast pace''.
He also spoke out against a rise in the top band of value
added tax VAT and Tares, a municipal tax on waste and local
services, prompting the immediate response of Economic
Development Minister Flavio Zanonato who told Confesercenti's
gathering that the government would work to avert a VAT
increase.
''Given the very limited amount of time in which we are
operating, each path will be tried to avoid increasing VAT at
the end of June'', said Zanonato.
Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party (PdL) wants to
avert a rise in the top band of VAT, from 21% to 22%, that is
scheduled after being put in place by the technocrat
administration of former premier Mario Monti.
The PdL has also threatened to pull the plug from Premier
Enrico Letta's broad coalition government if it fails to scrap
the unpopular IMU property tax and refund the revenues raised
from it in 2012 to respect a key pledge made during the
electoral campaign.
Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni last week said
implementing each measure would cost four billion euros and the
total eight-billion-euro public cost would entail ''compensatory
measures of extreme severity, which at the moment is
preposterous''.
On Wednesday, Zanonato also told the Confesercenti gathering
that the IMU property tax would be reformed by September with
tax breaks on real estate used by businesses as factories or
stores although he said it was ''difficult to think about a
total abolition of IMU''.
Labour Minister Enrico Giovannini also addressed the
assembly, stressing that ''finding funding for IMU, for VAT and
also to lower labour taxes, in particular to boost youth
employment. is not easy''.
He said the government was sounding different options to
boost employment including tax breaks for new hires.
Overall, Confesercenti called for a comprehensive reform to
lower taxes.
''We cannot accept a measure which lowers (regional tax)
Irpef and raises VAT, scraps (real estate property tax) IMU and
increases (municipal tax) Tares'', said Venturi.
''We need a real reform to reduce fiscal pressure and aid
companies and employment rather than annuities and estates''.
According to the association's annual report, Italy's tax
burden on families and companies could reach 44.4% of GDP in
2013 if the ongoing economic crisis continues.
The country's overall tax burden at 44% of GDP is some 3%
higher than in other European Union countries, the Bank of Italy
said in March.

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