Tax cuts pitched for baby-making Italians

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The tax incentive is intended to spur Italians to have more babies. Photo: Shutterstock
12:11 CEST+02:00
Italy’s Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, has proposed a package of family tax cuts in a bid to boost the country’s dismal birth rate and reward people "who make babies".

"We want Italy to become the country of cradles," Alfano said on Thursday in a major policy proposal to be put to premier Matteo Renzi.

Alfano, the leader of the conservative New Democratic Centre party and partner in Renzi's coalition, announced his party’s proposed tax cuts, worth €7.5 billion, and aimed at striking a "blow" at Imu, the unpopular tax on the purchase of first homes, Ansa reported.

"We have worked for a full package of special anti-crisis laws,” he said.

Renzi, from the centre-left Democratic Party, has also pledged to slash or abolish Imu on first homes but Alfano's proposals appeared to be an attempt to carve out a stronger identity for his own centre-right party.

The proposals were his most detailed statement so far on support for families as Italy struggles to boost economic growth and accelerate recovery after six years of stagnation.

Alfano was once considered the heir apparent to former premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right political empire until the two men quarrelled and he set up a breakaway party.

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He proposed "a sharp blow at taxation on the first home and very strong fiscal support for families, reductions and deductions for the new born, for the expenses on first children and education, from nappies to books, and cash to families who make babies, but also to families who take care of old people at home".

 "We have a plan for €7.5 billion that is very precise and solid, both from the point of view of costs and cover a 'family act,' an organized plan of support for those who have stood up to the crisis and supported Italy,” he said.

"We need special laws for a few years that will enable a shake-up in tax, in bureaucracy and stronger support for families," Alfano said.

"We are not facing a normal situation or living in an ordinary period of history," he added. "This crisis has lasted longer than the last World War."

Alfano said the government had made "some important decisions regarding the job market and on Article 18", the Italian labour law that had made it difficult for companies to dismiss employees on permanent contracts. 

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