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Belgium balances the budget

Credit: Belga

The Belgian government has reached a final agreement on the country’s budget Tuesday morning, ahead of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s Sate of the Union address.

The plan, constructed with insights from top ministers in the country, should reduce the budget deficit for 2022 from its current 5.4 percent to 3.1 percent, reports De Standaard.

Other significant changes include the following:

  • Working single people can expect a tax cut of €50. A working couple can expect that cut to come out to around €150. The deduction for childcare will be also increased.
  • High-earning athletes, along with expats, will have to pay more towards their social security contributions. This effort alone is expected to generate around €43 million in revenue.
  • There will be a tax on airline tickets for flights that are less than 500 kilometres.
  • People who are briefly ill will no longer need a doctor’s note for absences of just one day. This can be done three times a year.
  • Long-term sick employees who refuse to fill in a compulsory questionnaire on the possibility of returning to work stand to lose 2.5% of their benefits.
  • The measure that allows companies to not ask for social contributions for the first employee they recruit has been extended to be unlimited in time and irrespective of the employee’s salary, with a maximum permissible deduction of €4,000 euros in social contributions per quarter on a first recruitment.
  • The social rate for energy, to which 1 million families are now entitled, has been extended. Each family will receive a deduction of about €30 on its annual bill as a result.
  • People entitled to the social energy rate will also get an additional one-off reduction of €80 minimum.
  • Social services will receive funding for people who are not entitled to the social rate.

Earlier today, socialists urged the government to consider fighting tax evasion over cutting costs in order to balance the budget.

Negotiations seemed to stall at times, but the government reached a consensus on Tuesday morning ahead of a scheduled press conference explaining the measures.

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