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Unions outraged at savings tax rise
Belgium's three main trade unions - CNE, SETCa and CGSLB - have warned of the major impact of government plans to increase the tax on savings deposits in Belgian banks, writes Tax News’ Ulrika Lomas. As part of efforts to consolidate the budget in 2013 and 2014, the federal government unveiled plans on July 1 to increase tax in Belgium as of 2013. The measure is expected to yield revenues of around €40m in 2013 and €171.1m in 2014. In a joint statement, the unions insist that the plans will harm banking customers and employees in the banking sector and lead to lower interest rates. Furthermore, the proposals will place additional pressure on working conditions and pay and pose a threat to jobs, they claim. According to the unions, even though the government might generate additional revenues from the tax on the one hand, it will nevertheless have to increase spending on for example unemployment benefits on the other. Finally, the unions lament the fact that the measure will once again affect banks not listed on the stock exchange, notably those that do not engage in risk taking or ‘casino-type’ operations. The unions call for urgent talks with finance minister Koen Geens. While conceding that additional regulatory and other safeguard measures are necessary to protect customers and state revenues in the wake of the financial crisis, the unions stress that "a limit" has now been reached.