Gov’t to support low-pension earners, lower VAT on beverages, FinMin says

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Tuesday said the government will restore a special supplement payment to low-pension earners and announced a reduction in VAT on coffee and other beverages sold in supermarkets to 13 pct, as well as the return of a discount for the payment of taxes as a one-off lump sum instead of in installments, along with an increase in the ‘protection ceiling’ for the bank accounts of professionals.

In an interview with ANT1 TV station, the finance minister admitted that the abolition of a special supplement payment for low-pension earners was one of the biggest defeats for SYRIZA. “We are considering its restoration in a different form, that is more focused,” he said. Tsakalotos noted that, unfortunately, there is no fiscal room to lower VAT on served drinks also, while commenting on incentives for prompt payment of taxes, he said the ministry was examining offering a 2.0 pct discount for those that fully paid off the taxes they owe in a single installment.

Tsakalotos stressed that the package of positive measures announced last week “were not pre-election measures. All these have begun in August after the end of the memoranda. We have a plan. This is our plan: to exit the memorandum and to slowly introduce benefit measures. We know that things are not good. People face difficulties”.

The finance minister criticised the main opposition New Democracy party for tabling more generous amendments in Parliament but without presenting their cost. He added that the government reduced a special property tax this year and will continue doing so next year.