The Belgian Federal Government struck a deal overnight to cut VAT on some energy bills, but faced criticism for doing too little, too late. The financial assistance concerns electricity primarily, despite gas being the energy where prices have risen most.
VAT is to be cut from 21% to 6% from March to July, with leading green lawmaker Gilles Van Den Burre claiming the package will be worth €1 billion overall.
Federal lawmakers also agreed to extend Covid-related discounts and offer a €100 voucher to all households, according to RTL.
However, Julie Fère – spokesperson for Belgium’s consumer association – told Bel RTL radio the Federal Government had been “irresponsibly” slow in reacting.
Homes and businesses have faced steep price rises over the winter, with warnings of a sixfold increase in bills unless action is taken to ease the burden.
Test Achats criticised the decision to focus measures on electricity bills, not gas – arguing that “80% of gas consumption takes place between the end of October and the end of March”.