Minister says islands struggling with migrant influx may not face VAT hike

Minister says islands struggling with migrant influx may not face VAT hike

Islands in the Aegean that are struggling to deal with an influx o f migrants may be exempted from a planned increase in value added tax that is to be applied in the summer, Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis told Parliament on Friday, responding to a question tabled by SYRIZA MP Dimitris Sevastakis.

Alexiadis noted that businesses have asked the government to determine which islands will be affected by the hikes that are due to come into effect in June and insisted that authorities are "sensitive" to the particular problems faced on islands close to Turkey that have been overwhelmed by migrant arrivals.

"We are sensitive to the fact that it is impossible for islands under tremendous financial and social strain, which are showing solidarity [to the migrants] should be not be further burdened," he said. "We are looking at this and decisions will be taken in due course."

Last September six Greek islands, including the cosmopolitan tourist destinations Myconos and Santorini, were stripped of a 30 percent discount on value added tax that they had enjoyed for years, in line with the demands of the country's creditors. As stipulated by Greece's third bailout, other islands are to lose the same tax break this year. 

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