Business union chief says cutting labour costs top priority

Scrapping IMU without raising VAT 'preposterous', says Minister

Business union chief says cutting labour costs top priority

Genoa, June 14 - Italy's chief priority is cutting labour costs rather than scrapping a controversial real estate property tax IMU or averting a planned increase in a value-added tax, the president of Italy's business union Confindustria Giorgio Squinzi said on Friday. ''For us, this is the top priority'', Squinzi said, calling for a deduction of labour costs in the regional production tax IRAP and to cut down by 11 points a tax on labour. On Thursday, Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said cutting the unpopular IMU property tax without raising a value-added tax by 1% was ''preposterous'' and would force massive spending cuts elsewhere. Saccomanni said scrapping IMU, a key issue for the center-right, would cost four billion euros. In addition, he said freezing a VAT increase scheduled next month, taking it from 21% to 22%, would cost another four billion euros. Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, founder of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party backing Italy's unprecedented left-right government coalition, has said that if IMU isn't scrapped, he will make the cabinet fall.

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