Brussels: Workers Party of Belgium protests against high energy costs

In Brussels, tens of thousands of people protested in Belgium’s capital city 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 government’s irresponsibility on high energy costs and 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 by 6%.

Recently, after widespread public outrage and repeated protests by the PTB/PVDA in 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.

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 pay out a significant 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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