(see related) Rome, September 18 - The House whip for the center-left Democratic Party (PD) urged the government not to allow a hike in value-added tax (VAT), siding with rivals in the People of Freedom (PdL) party of Silvio Berlusconi. "It would be a tough blow to families and businesses and would further depress consumer buying," Roberto Speranza told ANSA. According to Italian media Wednesday, the economy ministry was planning to go ahead with a planned hike on the top tier of VAT, from 21% to 22%, starting October 1, as a result of the PdL successfully pressuring the government to follow through on Berlusconi's campaign promise to roll back a property tax called IMU. "Either we fund the abolition of IMU, or we fund blocking a rise in VAT. Both things are not possibile," economy ministry sources told Italian daily La Repubblica. The remarks followed statements Tuesday from European Monetary and Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn before an Italian Senate committee, in which he said the government's decision to scrap IMU to appease the PdL "has raised and still raises concern" due to the problem it creates in finding alternative revenue in an already tight budget.