Italy halts incentive scheme for card payments, eases firing ban By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi gestures as he speaks at a news conference where he is expected to map out the country’s next moves in loosening coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Rome, Italy, April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casi

By Giuseppe Fonte

ROME (Reuters) -Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday halted a refund scheme aimed at promoting digital payments, and partially lifted a ban on firing which was introduced last year at the height of the Italy’s COVID-19 pandemic.

The previous government led by Giuseppe Conte launched the refund scheme in 2020, allowing Italians to claim back 10% of all their credit or debit card spending up to a ceiling of 3,000 euros ($3,554.70).

The project, planned to last until June 2022, was aimed at reducing widespread tax evasion in the traditionally cash-based economy.

However, the cabinet decided to suspend the scheme from July 1 until the end of this year, Draghi’s office said in a statement, confirming a draft of the decree previously reported by Reuters.

Draghi told ministers the measure was badly designed because it favoured richer households with less propensity to spend, his office said.

The so-called “cashless economy” plan was estimated by the Treasury to cost almost 5 billion euros over this year and next.

A senior lawmaker in the ruling coalition said on condition of anonymity that Rome needed to make savings to fund other measures in the pipeline, such as a reform of jobless benefits, for which the draft seen by Reuters earmarked 1.5 billion euros.

The suspension of the refund scheme, first mooted on Monday after a meeting between Draghi and key coalition figures, has hit shares in Italian payments group Nexi (MI:), which were slightly lower on Wednesday after falling 1.2% on Tuesday.

It has also triggered criticism within the ruling, multi-party coalition, especially from the 5-Star Movement.

Separately, the government decided not to extend a ban on firing beyond the current end-June deadline except for workers in sectors hardest-hit by COVID-19 lockdowns.

For workers in textiles, shoemaking and fashion, the ban will continue through October. Companies in those sectors can access a further 17 weeks of a pandemic-related furlough scheme.

Another 13-week temporary lay-off scheme will be made available to help manufacturing and construction companies.

The government also earmarked 1 billion euros to try to cushion the impact of costlier raw materials on electricity bills.

($1 = 0.8440 euros)

(editing by Gavin Jones and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Source link

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button