Rome

Unions give mixed reaction to Italian budget

Democratic Party says 'things to fix'

Unions give mixed reaction to Italian budget

(see related story on site) (ANSA) - Rome, October 10 - Italy's trade unions gave a mixed reaction to the government's budget bill on Wednesday while the centre-left Democratic Party said some parts needed amending in parliament. The budget features cuts to the lower bands of income tax next year but a scheduled 2% increase in value added tax only has been halved to 1% even though Premier Mario Monti's administration had said it wanted to scrap the rise completely. The package also includes public spending cuts that will hit various sectors, including health and education. "It's a budget that will depress the economy," said Susanna Camusso, the head of Italy's largest union confederation, the left-wing CGIL. "The news is that there will be an increase in VAT, an increase that will only be partially compensated by the cut in income tax". She added that people on benefits will see their cost of living rise. However, Raffaele Bonanni of the more moderate CISL praised the measures. "It's a very important signal because for the first time in many years the income tax of low earners is being lightened a little," said Bonanni. The centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which is one of the three main political groups supporting Monti's emergency government and is top of the polls ahead of next year's elections, was not entirely satisfied. "The reduction of the lowest bands of income tax is very good, but I think there are things to fix regarding two points," said PD chief Pier Luigi Bersani. "It's necessary to have a very precise look at the effects of the health cuts and I fear that the jobs of 6,300 to 6,400 teachers will be cut in schools". Industry Minister Corrado Passera said the budget bill was "a good starting platform" for parliament to work on.

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