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Tax reductions coming on energy, books, car insurance

Measures under 'Destination Italy' package to stimulate growth

13 December, 14:10
Tax reductions coming on energy, books, car insurance (ANSA) - Rome, December 13 - Lower energy costs, a tax credit for research, creation of a new 'mini-bond', and a reduction in car insurance bills were all part of a package aimed at improving Italy's business climate announced Friday by Premier Enrico Letta.

The decree, approved by cabinet, also expands Customs operations for international clients by providing 24-hour service and texts translated into English, said Flavio Zanonato, minister of industry.

Most of the measures are gathered together under the government's Destination Italy initiative designed to attract greater foreign investment in Italy's economy, which is struggling to emerge from two years of the worst recession seen here since the Second World War. "It's a measure that is used to restore the confidence of businesses...and to give opportunities to those who want to invest," said Letta.

A key feature of Destination Italy is an 850-million euro reduction in the cost of energy bills.

"Such a strong reduction in the cost of energy bills (addresses) one of the most damaging (barriers) to the competitiveness of our businesses," said Letta.

Further incentives worth 600 million euros for small- and medium-sized businesses to add photovoltaic panels to reduce their energy bills are included in the new decree, as well as tax credits for research, and incentives for businesses that digitize more of their work.

A "mini-bond" process to help small- and medium-sized businesses to issue securities to raise money rather than going to the banks for loans is also included in the Destination Italy decree.

The premier also announced a 19% tax rebate on books, which he described as "an important point that has to do with the dissemination of books and culture," and is expected to cost the Treasury about 50 million euros.

An investment in the Naples Metro Capodichino line was also announced as well as plans to reduce automobile insurance rates by an average of 7% for consumers.