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Rising cost of living: what have our politicians and governments done and not done since the start of the crisis?

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

Just over a year after the start of the sharp rise in energy prices, what have our political leaders done to stem this rise and support citizens and businesses in paying their bills?

The federal government has expanded the number of beneficiaries of the social tariff. 20% of households have been entitled to it since the start of 2021. These precarious families pay for their energy at a price much lower than the market price, and the State pays the difference.

It also reduced the VAT on electricity and gas from 21 to 6%. He distributed a few checks, for single use: 100 euros discount on electricity, an oil check and soon one for pellet users.

From November, aid of 200 euros per month for Belgians of the middle class, to help them pay their gas and electricity bills. And then, he agreed to a discount on excise duties, which he collects on diesel and petrol at the pump (a gain of 17 cents per liter for motorists).

For the purchasing power of employees, the De Croo government has also fully maintained the automatic indexation system. Wages more or less follow the level of inflation. Pretty much, because these salaries do not follow fuel price increases. These wage indexations are paid by the companies.

On the side of regional governments, for purchasing power, freezing the indexation of rents for those who occupy a poorly insulated property. Rising insulation premiums.

What remains to be done?

Act at the source, that is to say on prices. By refusing, for example, to buy overpriced gas, in Qatar, Russia, the United States. This negotiation is done at European level, there is currently no majority of countries to follow the Belgian position.

Also remains: a tax reform, in the works. A reform of the labor market: if access to a job is facilitated, it is also a potential gain in purchasing power.

The federal government must manage to tax the excess profits of energy producers and redistribute this money to citizens. Same promise on the Walloon side, with the benefits of the distribution network managers.