Stelios Petsas: no reduction of tax-free threshold, no benefit cuts

Stelios Petsas: no reduction of tax-free threshold, no benefit cuts

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas gave today the categorical assurance that the tax-free threshold will not be reduced and no social benefit will be cut, and that there will be no fiscal gap, reiterating the commitments of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“After the three-day talks in Parliament, the government received a vote of confidence. A new era begins with vision, plan and perspective. The mandate of the people is to change course. The ideological differences have not been abolished, but the border between maintenance and progress is growth. The overwhelming majority of Greeks, who want investments, reforms and development, side with progress. The new government will confront all the problems,” the government spokesman said.

At the same time, he announced the first bills that will be submitted to the House. Regarding the State’s headquarters, it will be tabled on 24/07, will be in the Commission on 25/07 and will be voted by 08/08. The bill on the first tax cuts on ENFIA and the regulation of the 120 instalments will be tabled with urgent procedure on 26/7 and will be voted by 1 August at the latest.

There will also be an inter-ministerial bill, containing provisions such as the Governance of the Local Authorities and the university asylum. It will be tabled on Monday, will be discussed in the Commission on Tuesday and will be voted on by 8 August at the latest.

The tax bill that will follow- after the cuts on ENFIA and the 120 instalments that will come this week with the urgent procedure- will introduce a new income tax scale, a reduction in the import rate by 9% for incomes up to € 10,000, a tax reduction on dividends from 28% to 24%, and a 40% reduction in taxation for aesthetic and energy upgrading of buildings.

With regards to insurance, he reiterated that the Katrougalos law was a bad law, and said that an insurance bill will be formed by the end of the year, adding that within four years insurance contributions will decrease from 20% to 15%.

On the budget gap, Mr Petsas said that “those who saw a fiscal gap were looking at a photograph of yesterday.” The previous government followed a policy of over-taxation. The medium-term fiscal plan projected between 2019 and 2023 an over-performance/over-taxation of 3.5 billion euros. “We will not continue this,” said Mr Petsas.

He noted that according to the creditors’ report that came out before the European elections, there was an under-implementation of public spending. Mr Petsas said there will be a saving of 1.5 billion euros from the spending overview and the adjustment of the ceiling on public spending, the expansion of electronic transactions and from growth. He explained that the economy is going much better, as the fall of the interest rates on bonds and the Athens Stock Exchange show. By restoring confidence in the Greek economy we will have growth- each euro of growth increases revenue by 0.5 euro- and there will be no budget gap.

He reiterated that no social benefit will be cut, and those who were receiving social benefits will continue to receive them with the Mitsotakis government. Regarding the 13th pension, he stated that “what was given by the previous government was not a 13th pension, but a pre-election benefit, but it will continue to be granted in 2020 as a mechanism to support low-pensioners.”

Mr Petsas announced that on 29 August the Prime Minister will visit Berlin, and from 2-3 September the Netherlands, while after 20 August a trip to Paris will also be arranged. With the foreign leaders, the Prime Minister will insist on restoring confidence in the Greek economy and its reform plan. During the meetings, various aspects of the reform plan will be discussed. “We are moving ahead with our plan and we are discussing the reduction of primary surpluses,” he said.

However, he said that for both symbolic and substantive reasons the Prime Minister’s first trip will be to Cyprus on 29-30 July.

Mr Petsas also referred to the acceleration of the procedures at Helleniko, saying that there is a timetable for the issue of the three joint ministerial decisions by 10 August.

With regards to the university asylum, he said it is one of the key issues of the new government to implement the abolishment of the “asylum for unlawfulness”. “We are moving forward but we will not stop discussions with the parties involved,” he said.

Finally, he stated that the School of Architecture will remain where it is and added that there have been telephone communications with Mr. Gerapetritis and Ms Mendoni./ibna