Rome

Berlusconi vows total IMU repeal in June

'Fundamental to growth, development'

Berlusconi vows total IMU repeal in June

Rome, May 21 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday vowed that the contested IMU property tax would be repealed outright in June. "At the beginning of June, IMU will be repealed for the future," said Berlusconi, whose center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party forms the backbone of parliamentary support for the new, cross-party government of Enrico Letta. Centre-left Premier Enrico Letta's cabinet on Friday approved a decree to suspend the June payment of the controversial IMU property tax after weeks of threats from Berlusconi. "This is a first move of the government, it's only a preview," said Berlusconi, who called repealing the tax "fundamental to relaunching Italian growth and development". IMU was instituted among a series of austerity measures under former premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat government to restore health to Italy's public finances drained by the euro crisis, which helped bring down Berlusconi's government at the end of 2011. It has been widely criticised for being too high and unfair, as it is levied at an equal rate per square metre on owners of plush downtown apartments and on low-income families with flats in the suburbs. Abolishing IMU and reimbursing the 2012 revenues from it, which Berlusconi campaigned on leading up to February elections, would create a hole of around eight billion euros in this year's budget.

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