Lesvos businesses shut in protest at VAT hike

Lesvos businesses shut in protest at VAT hike

Shops, supermarkets and cafes didn’t open on Lesvos on Wednesday as local businesses joined a general strike called by professional bodies on the eastern Aegean island and neighboring Limnos and Aghios Efstratios to protest government plans to raise value-added tax (VAT) from 17 to 24 percent as of January 1.

“If we can secure the compliance of the European Union and the creditors for a one-year extension [of the current VAT rate] we will be able to change legislation so that our island can stay with the lower rate,” said Charalambos Athanasiou, New Democracy MP for Lesvos.

Protesters say that the higher VAT rate will entail a higher cost of living and have a negative impact on competitiveness, leading to more businesses closing down. 

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