The Times Friday, 27th February 2009
Michael Briguglio, Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green party, Sliema
The recent European Parliament vote in favour of reduced VAT rates within the EU is most welcome. The European Greens, of which Alternattiva Demokratika is a member, are clearly in favour of this directive.
In practical terms, there is a possibility for applying reduced VAT rates in targeted sectors of locally supplied goods and intensive-labour services to private end-users, such as restaurants, on a permanent basis. If formally approved by European ministers, the directive will extend to the entire housing sector and services related to it in addition to social services already being covered by the existing directive. Besides, the reduced VAT rates can be applied to renovation and repair work aiming at increased energy-saving and efficiency and to products such as CDs, babies' nappies and services such as landscaping.
Reduced VAT rates on such goods and services are most welcome to help kick-start European economies, create jobs and reduce prices. This falls in line with the vision of the Greens, who are promoting a new Green Deal for the EU which is estimated to create five million jobs in areas such as those covered by the revised European directive on VAT.
The Maltese government is strongly urged to support the revised directive.