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Italian government wins House of Representatives vote of confidence in 2023 budget

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s government easily won a vote of confidence in the lower house on Friday, calling on it to speed up approval of its expansionary 31 budget a year ago –

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s first budget lifts next year’s deficit to 4.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) from 3.4% forecast in September, allocating more than 12 billion euros (21.$3 billion) in tax breaks and bonuses to help businesses and households cope with the energy crisis.

Among other measures, the bill lowers the retirement age, provides financial incentives to encourage hiring open contracts, and includes 21 tax amnesty to allow individuals and companies to catch up on missed payments by reducing penalties.

The government won the vote by 221 to 31.

Barring any surprises, the upper house Senate should give final approval to the bill in its second reading next week.

If discussions drag on and the budget is not passed by December31, the government will begin capping monthly spending, thereby limiting discretionary measures. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Luca Ciriani ruled out that the deadline could be missed.

“It will damage the international image of the government and the country,” he told reporters.

The Italian government often uses votes of confidence to short-circuit amendments and push legislation. If the vote of confidence fails, the government must resign, but Meloni, who has a sufficient parliamentary majority, is not taking that risk.

The opposition has accused the right-wing coalition of not giving enough time to parliament to review the budget. The government says it has no choice because it only took office in late October, sharply shortening the time normally used to develop and debate a package.

“What happened in parliament proves that the right bloc is not ready (to govern),” Enricoleta, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, said.

($1=0. 9433 Euro)



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