Dutch government to lower energy taxes amid surge in prices

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government is planning a multibillion euro package to help households cope with soaring energy bills, a minister said Friday. The Netherlands is the latest European nation to seek to deal with the effects of surging prices for electricity and gas.

The caretaker administration of Prime Minister Mark Rutte plans to slash taxes on energy in a move that would save the average household about 400 euros ($463) per year, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius told reporters in The Hague.

Earlier this week, the European Union’s executive branch advised the 27 EU member countries to adopt tax cuts, state aid and other measures to help households and businesses weather the impact of high energy prices.

After months of economic instability linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission wants a rapid and joint response to mitigate the effects of the price hikes, especially for people living in poverty or on low incomes.

EU officials say 20 member countries have already taken, or are planning to take action to alleviate the financial strain. A labor organization said last month that almost 3 million EU workers can’t afford to turn on the heating at home.

Among nations that have taken action, Spain slashed energy taxes, scrapped a 7% tax on power generation, cut an energy tariff on consumers from 5.1% to 0.5% and reduced the sales tax on household energy from 21% to 10%.

Yesilgöz-Zegerius said the Dutch measures would affect all gas bills, not just those of people who are struggling to pay them, because the government wanted to find a quick and simple way to implement the measure.

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