Calviño and Montero threaten fines if prices do not go down with VAT

Nadia Calviño, María Jesús Montero and Reyes Maroto.

Thomas Osborne
Thomas Osborne
28 December 2022 Wednesday 23:43
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Calviño and Montero threaten fines if prices do not go down with VAT

Nadia Calviño, María Jesús Montero and Reyes Maroto. Three different ministers and a common warning: the Government is going to take special care so that the VAT reduction on food approved in the package of measures against the effects of inflation approved on Tuesday really reaches the pockets of citizens .

The doubts of the Government that the measure approved in the third royal decree-law of measures against the effects of the war will reach the consumer seem more than palpable considering the deployment that the Executive made yesterday to warn that if the sector of the distribution does not transfer the VAT reduction on the most basic foods in the shopping basket to the final price, there will be consequences.

"We are going to monitor how this type of product behaves this semester, and the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) also has powers in case it detects at any time that an unwanted attitude is produced by companies so that immediate action can be taken," explained the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, in statements to a television program. In the event that these reductions are not transferred, "there will be sanctions," warned the head of the Economy, Nadia Calviño, along the same lines.

Further, although without too much precision, was Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, and PSOE candidate for the Madrid City Council. “We are going to create a price observatory that allows us to control that these VAT reductions are directly passed on to consumers. We are working with distribution, who are allies, and are the first to want the shopping basket to become cheaper so that everyone can dedicate that part of the income to other goods”, assured Reyes Maroto.

It remains to be determined how this price observatory will differ from the one that has been in operation for years at the Ministry of Agriculture and which ensures, precisely, a correct transfer of prices in the food chain from producers to consumers. The head of that ministry, Luis Planas, did not clarify it either and limited himself to saying the same thing as his colleagues.

“The agri-food sector and distribution have said and have committed to transfer it to the final price of the consumer. We trust the word of the sector, but we will be vigilant that this is the case. And there are ways for the distribution to show it, either by reflecting it on the purchase receipt or in the spaces themselves, indicating the old or new price as of January 1”, he pointed out.

Much less enthusiastic was the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz. "It is not the measure that we believe can help," said the voice of United We Can in the negotiations of the royal decree law, in a press conference to take stock of the year of life of the labor reform. In conversations with journalists, Díaz also questioned the effectiveness of the CNMC in order to control its proper functioning.

“We all know the deadlines that the CNMC has and what it takes from when an irregularity is discovered until it is sanctioned or corrected. That is something that should be raised as well,” she warned. Despite everything, Yolanda Díaz specified, like the rest of the Government, that "the approved VAT reduction is not the reduction requested by the Popular Party."