Over tens of thousands of people protested in Belgium’s capital city Brussels blaming the anti-people policies pursued by the coalition government in the nation. The protest was called by the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA). Protestors accused the irresponsibility of the government on high energy costs as well as on the long pending demand for an increment in salaries and pensions.

While addressing the protests, President of PTB/PVDA Raoul Hedebouw recalled their demand to lower and standardize the value-added tax (VAT) on energy to 6%. Recently, after widespread public outrage and repeated protests by the PTB/PVDA in the Belgium’s federal parliament and elsewhere, the coalition government had made a decision to reduce the VAT on a temporary basis from 21% to 6% for the period of five months from March 1 to July 1, 2022.

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For a very long time, parties of the incumbent coalition government have been trying their best to defend the higher VAT on energy, while arguing that a general reduction would benefit the richest and negatively impact the reduction of CO2 emissions, state budgets and hit wages across the nation. Whereas the response of PTB/PVDA was that most of the working class households in the nation spend a large share of their income on energy bills, and that the losses due to reduction in value added tax on gas and electricity must be offset by a tax on the profits of energy multinationals.

Progressive sections across several parts of Europe have intensified campaigns against high energy prices as working-class households, already ravaged by the COVID-19 crisis, are now facing the brunt of high energy bills during the harsh winter.

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