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A large part of household energy aid ends up in savings accounts: how can this be explained?

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Much of the aid given to households by the government to cope with rising energy bills has ended up in the savings accounts of Belgian families, according to a study conducted jointly by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and Ghent University (UGent) and reported by De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad on Thursday.

According to Gert Peersman (UGent) and Joris Wauters (BNB), who carried out the research, the energy vouchers issued by the authorities and the financial advantage of the reduction in VAT on gas and electricity would largely be found on household savings accounts. The researchers conclude that the government has overcompensated many households. The energy expenditure of an average Belgian family amounted to 170 euros per month between May and July. A figure much lower than what the experts had expected.

This difference can be explained by the fact that many households still had a fixed contract or used a heating source that was cheaper than gas. “The reduction in VAT and the energy vouchers were not necessary for an average family, and even less for higher incomes”according to Mr. Peersman. “Furthermore, these measures put a huge hole in the budget.”

According to the researchers, the government would have done better to extend the social tariff for very vulnerable families, by providing a more graduated form to avoid leaving out those who would be just above the income ceiling.