This afternoon the government announced that the 1% increase in VAT ( Sales Tax) due on July 1st which would have taken it from 21% to 22% has been postponed until October. Now regular readers will know the cancellation of this increase was firstly our leader Letta’s campaign promise, then a dream, then a miracle, then an aspiration and by last week an impossibility. They could not find the €4 billion needed. Nor until this afternoon could they find the €1Billion to delay it for three months. Clearly after a good lunch today the Finance Minister returned and lo and behold there was a spare €1 billion on the side of his desk. Guess we are back to miracles !
What doesn’t seem to have survived is the 55% discount for householders to claim back in tax for making their houses more green. That goes back to 40%. I got quite excited when I read of this discount. Bang in a load of insulation and a more fuel efficient boiler and get a tax refund. Then I read that the tax refund takes 6 years to work it’s way through the system and that is optimistic normally it is up to 10 years and the gloss kind of went off the deal. You borrow say €20,000 at about 12% here then have the work done including having to pay VAT then put in for a tax refund and wait say 7 years to get it while inflation eats away at the amount you get back. No wonder today the Taranto paper said it is estimated 1 million workers now operate not charging nor declaring VAT in Taranto province alone. Maybe instead of declaring war on them as the Guarda di Finanza have done today someone should declare war on the tax refund department.
With the cool weather we drove down to the big Mall in Brindisi to buy cheap fuel €1.52 a litre compared with €1.70 up here in Martina Franca , buy beer in bulk and wander around Zara and H&M. Most Italians not working black get 14 months pay a year ( bank employees get 16 months) and so it is best to get stuff before July 1st because after that the places are packed as it seems to be clothes and furniture that are bought in July and clothes and presents in December. So Ikea in July is off the visit list.
Driving down to Brindisi is often exciting. A two lane motorway with very short entrance slipways and even shorter exit ones. Plenty of trucks, BMWs and Audis doing 200 kph, farmers in clapped out 40 year old Fiats doing 25 kph and ladies of the night sitting on plastic chairs near the hard shoulder every kilometre or so to distract the drivers. Bit like this really
James Hunt apparently slept with about 50 British Airways stewardesses during his brief motor racing career which shows amazing brand loyalty don’t you think !
Looks like it is going to be a good year for movies. I have always loved Westerns and regretted their passing so I was delighted when I heard that Johnny Depp was putting in his own money to make sure this one got the the silver screen.
Now that’s a movie !!