Zanonato reiterates IMU, VAT vows

Cutting property tax on business will help economy says minister

Zanonato reiterates IMU, VAT vows

Turin, July 8 - Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato on Monday reiterated the government's pledges to avert a 1% rise in VAT and cut the IMU property tax on Italians' first homes and industrial and commercial facilities. The issue of whether to cut IMU or rather scrap it altogether and pay back last year's take - as pledged by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi in the February election - has threatened to undermine Italy's unprecedented left-right government since it was formed in May. Ministers have said it will be hard to find the money to cover Berlusconi's pledge and meet EU budget targets but his People of Freedom (PdL) party have insisted it is a deal-breaker for its alliance with the centre-left Democratic Party (PD). Premier Enrico Letta of the PD has promised to "supersede" IMU and avert the VAT hike by the summer recess. A government summit will address the issue Wednesday. The media has speculated a sell-off in government assets could be used to find the cash and also start bringing down Italy's huge debt. Zanonato said Monday cutting IMU on factories, shops and other commercial properties would give the economy a much needed shot in the arm. Italy is in its longest recession in more than 20 years.

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