Spain to slash gas and energy bill taxes amid soaring prices

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Spain will temporarily slash the sales tax on gas to help consumers facing soaring bills, the prime minister said Thursday, as Russia’s war in Ukraine has sent European energy prices rising.

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He said his government will cut the value-added tax on gas to five percent from 21 percent from October until the end of December.

“As we enter autumn and winter, it seems reasonable to us to try to lower the heating bill,” Sanchez said during an interview with news radio Cadena Ser.

The government may extend the measure into next year “for as long as the very difficult situation we are facing lasts,” he added.

European gas and power prices have spiked this year as Russia limits supplies in what has been seen as retaliation to European Union sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

Spain’s inflation rate hit 10.4 percent in August, down from for the first time in four months as fuel prices eased, but it remained high due to rising electricity and fuel prices.

Inflation has remained in double digits in the eurozone country since June, a level not seen since the mid-1980s.

Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said consumer prices were on a “downward slope” that will continue “over the course of the next months.”

But she called for “caution” as “uncertainty is very high due to the war.”

Sanchez’s leftist government has rolled out aid packages in recent months to help households and businesses weather the inflationary pressure, including free commuter train travel and fuel subsidies.

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