Kouvelis: lower VAT on restaurants to come soon

Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of the junior partner in the governing coalition, Democratic Left, said on Friday that the reduction of value added tax on food sector services would come “very soon.”

In an interview with state television channel Net, Kouvelis said he had raised the issue of a reduction to VAT on Greek restaurants and tavernas, which currently stands at 23 percent, during a meeting in Brussels with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said earlier this month that the government plans to broach the issue of lower VAT in the food sector when troika envoys return to Athens in June.

In his talks with Barroso in Brussels, Kouvelis said he also called for changes to a special consumption tax on heating oil which has led many Greek households to turn to cheaper forms of heating.

On the issue of growth, which Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has highlighted as a priority for the government, Kouvelis said that it must be directly linked to employment, calling for specific policies and funding to tackle rising unemployment.

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