Rome

Italy has 'touched bottom' of crisis, but taxes 'unbearable'

Confindustria sees only 'scattered evidence' of recovery

Italy has 'touched bottom' of crisis, but taxes 'unbearable'

Rome, June 27 - Industrial employers' confederation Confindustria said Thursday that Italy had "touched the bottom" of the economic crisis. But Confindustria's research centre added in a report that it could only see "scattered evidence" of recovery and stressed that the high tax burden was unsustainable for Italian business. "We have touched the bottom," the report said. "In the sixth year of crisis, there are signs here and there of the end of the fall and, more randomly, indications of a turning point. "There's a mixed bunch of scattered evidence that makes it possible to perceive the start of the recovery, although this does not represent a solid basis to forecast it". Confindustria also bemoaned the tax hikes former premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat administration introduced last year as part of austerity measures to restore health to Italy's public finances. These further raised the country's already high tax burden and contributed to deepening its longest recession in over 20 years. "Tax pressure is reaching a historic high of 44.6% of GDP in 2013 and it will remain unsustainably high in 2014," the report said. Confindustria praised Premier Enrico Letta's left-right administration, which replaced Monti's government in April, for putting greater emphasis on promoting growth. But the confederation's chief economist, Luca Paolazzi, said the measures approved up to now were "very limited" and that the government "lacked a plan" to combat the crisis. The research centre sounded the alarm about Italian firms losing competitiveness too, saying rising labour costs and falling productivity were hitting business hard.

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