Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Lower VAT on power bills, pump prices, pension boost


Cyprus will extend lower VAT on electricit­y bills and a fuel price cap while boosting pensions to cushion the impact of runaway prices that have pushed inflation to its highest rate in over 40 years.

The package, costing an estimated EUR 103 mln, sees VAT on electric bills charged at a lower coefficien­t of 10% from the standard 19% until August 31 and a cap on tax on fuel at the pumps until the same date.

The cabinet-approved measures extend a government policy adopted three months ago.

People in vulnerable groups will be eligible for a lower VAT rate of 5% on their electricit­y bills.

Finance Minister Constantin­os Petrides said that the state would increase pensions to 165,000 beneficiar­ies and give vulnerable households one-off cash handouts based on their incomes and the number of dependants.

Inflation runs at 8.6% year on year in April, its highest since an annual record of 10.8% in 1981.

The government is spending EUR 103 mln on low-income households to fence off the negative impact of the rising cost of living.

Petrides said that following the pandemic’s economic shock, Cyprus is entering a long period of rising inflation attributed to external factors, mainly the war in Ukraine.

“No government can kill inflation at its root, as increasing liquidity in the market may feed inflationa­ry pressures leading to a vicious cycle of price increases,” said Petrides.

“Having this in mind, the government has introduced 11 measures to alleviate inflation pressure on low-income households.”

From July, pensions of 165,000 beneficiar­ies will increase by an average of 4.3%, with the cost of adjustment around EUR 34 mln. According to income, lowincome families will be given a small lump sum between EUR 60 and EUR 150 for every child under the age of 18.

Starting from the lowest-income households, families with an income of up to EUR 10,000 a month will get a lump sum of EUR 150 for each child. Some 6,639 households are expected to benefit from this measure.

A family with three or more children and an income of 39,000 to 49,000 will receive EUR 60 for every child under 18.

A total of 24,075 families and 45,883 children will benefit.

Another support measure concerns a subsidy plan for childcare services for children under 4, helping families out with fees at private kindergart­ens.

The measure will support 16,000 households with a monthly allowance that will cover 80% of tuition fees.

Families are expected to receive a monthly subsidy of EUR 100 to EUR 300 for each child. The measure will start in September.

There are increased subsidies for the installati­on of solar panels and thermal roof insulation, from EUR 750 to EUR 1,000 per installed kilowatt and for household consumers, from EUR 250 to EUR 375 per kilowatt.

Consumers will be entitled to an increased subsidy for an environmen­tally friendly energy upgrade in their homes. Some 19,500 families with a gross income below EUR 19,000 will be added.

Furthermor­e, the government will instruct authoritie­s to speed up applicatio­ns for RES installati­ons.

Other measures concern the support for farmers and animal breeders.

Some 5,500 farmers and animal breeders will benefit from some EUR 9.5 mln.

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