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Renzi govt has first furore over State bonds

New premier's right-hand man causes outcry with suggestion

24 February, 13:34
Renzi govt has first furore over State bonds (ANSA) - Rome, February 24 - Premier Matteo Renzi's new government was faced with its first major furore on Monday after the Democratic Party (PD) leader's right-hand man suggested an increase in taxes on State bonds could be on the cards.

Cabinet Undersecretary Graziano Delrio caused the storm on Sunday when he said that "if an elderly lady has 100,000 euros put aside in (short-term) BOT (bonds), I don't think she'll have any health problems if you take 25 or 30 euros off her".

The suggestion was condemned by opposition parties and members of the junior partner in Renzi's government, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano's New Centre Right (NCD).

"Let's not start off on the wrong foot," Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi, one of three NCD ministers, told Monday's Corriere della Sera.

"Announcing that we may tax BOTs is an error both of style and content. And we are not willing to accept tax increases".

The premier's office put out a statement after Delrio spoke, but this did not rule out higher taxes on bonds, saying Renzi would illustrate how the government intends to "reduce the tax burden by reshaping (the tax system)" during a speech in the Senate Monday before a confidence vote. Renzi was highly critical of communication breakdowns and other mistakes made by the administration of his predecessor and PD colleague Enrico Letta, which he pulled the plug on 11 days ago.