Socialists accuse Belgian government of stifling private consumption

Socialists accuse Belgian government of stifling private consumption

"The right-wing policy of the Michel Government has stifled private consumption,” the head of the Socialist Party’s group in the Chamber, Ahmed Laaouej, commented on Friday in reaction to a National Bank study showing that consumer spending has slowed. Despite the tax shift and increased employment, the higher index and policy of wage moderation has slowed down private consumption in Belgium, according to the study“We are not surprised; it’s the conclusion of a sequence that has seen many institutions and universities criticise government policy,” Laaouej said.

“After the Planning Office, which assessed the price tage for the budget at 11 billion euros for 2022, and a UC Louvain university study, which shows the number of private jobs the government has created in five years has been reduced from 230,000 to 30,000, the National Bank is now showing that the Government is stifling private consumption in the country. That’s a triple zero, on the social, economic, and budgetary fronts,” he stressed.

"There has been a smaller increase in incomes in Belgium than in neighbouring countries,” added the Socialist Party parliamentary leader. “Despite the huge gifts given to businesses, 19 billion euros in higher indexes and lower social contributions, there has been a marked failure in terms of creating jobs and relaunching the economy.”

The Government of Prime Minister Charles Michel says it has enhanced the net earnings of workers by implementing a tax shift. However, says Laaouej, this has only benefitted a small number of workers “and has been largely neutralised by the increase in consumer taxes, which I evaluate at six billion euros.”

“Additionally, a policy of austerity in health care has compressed household income by about two billion euros. That’s a huge blow to people’s earnings,” the parliamentarian said.

The Brussels Times

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