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Changes on 1 September: Pilot project for affordable mental health care, tax break for charging stations
The first of every month heralds new legislation or policies, and 1 September sees a pilot project for affordable access to mental health care rolled out, as well as tax breaks for electric vehicle charging outlets and lower fees for young people using TEC public transport. And more.
Making the headlines this week is an agreement to make visits to a psychologist affordable. Spurred by the mental health problems associated with the coronavirus crisis, the idea is to allow certain groups of people to visit a psychologist up to 20 times a year for a mere €11 per session.
Before you book an appointment, know that the first few months will involve a pilot project whereby a network of psychologists will be developed that will take part in the new arrangement. The pilot project officially launches on 1 September.
According to the Flemish Association of Clinical Psychologists, only those who apply official fees (conventionné/geconventioneerd) will be considered. Even then, the association expects that only about one-third of those psychologists will be approved for the programme.
Priority will then be given to people whose lives have been particularly negatively affected by the crisis, such as young people, single parents and small business owners. The priority groups must still be designated by the federal health department.
Also on 1 September, individuals or businesses installing infrastructure to charge electric vehicles will get a tax deduction of 45% of the cost of the installation, up to €1,500. The terminal must use green energy and be available to others in the neighbourhood for a certain number of hours a day.
Parliament must still approve the tax break, but it will be applied retroactively to 1 September. Anyone looking to take advantage of the tax deduction should act by the end of next year, as the tax deduction rate will drop to 30% after that.
More good news in transport: As of 1 September, 18- to 24-year-olds will pay substantially less for passes on TEC public transport, which runs buses in Wallonia and Brussels. The Next pass will drop from €85 to €39.30, while the Horizon pass will plummet from the current €111 to €51.30.
A few more products will be available to buy with Eco cheques, such as lamps with the new European energy label (up to D), as well as class televisions and monitors (up to E). Those new energy labels will be applied to lamps sold in Belgium as well, by the way, with letters A through G replacing the A+++ system. Those labels are already applied to household appliances sold in Belgium.
As previously announced, armed military will disappear from the streets, stations and airports of Belgium as of 1 September, and the rules regarding entering other people’s property to fetch one’s personal property have also been adapted.
Photo top: ©Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock