June 21, 2019 / 3:47 PM / 4 months ago

Italian government wins confidence vote on economic growth decree

ROME (Reuters) - The Italian government won a confidence vote in parliament’s lower house on Friday paving the way for the approval of a bill aimed at boosting growth through tax breaks and investment incentives.

FILE PHOTO: General view of Italian Parliament as Economy Minister Giovanni Tria speaks over the looming EU disciplinary action against Italy for excessive debt, in Rome, Italy June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

Parliament must convert into law a government decree which was first approved in April and presented as a key set of measures to bolster Italy’s economy.

According to national statistics bureau ISTAT, the euro zone’s third biggest economy could contract again in the second quarter of this year after the shallow recession at the end of 2018.

The ruling anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and far-right League coalition parties comfortably won the vote by 288 to 181.

A government calls such confidence votes in order to sweep away opposition to a bill and speed its progress through parliament. Had it lost the vote, it would have been forced to resign.

After final approval in the lower house, the bill will move to the upper-house Senate and must be turned into law by the end of June.

Alongside tax cuts and investment boosts, the government added norms which went beyond the primary scope of the decree and intervened on several sensitive issues.

The bill allows the government to invest around 145 million euros (129.16 million pounds) in equity in any vehicle set up to rescue struggling airline Alitalia, placed under special administration in 2017.

In addition, the decree broadens the scope of the government’s plan to compensate savers hit by a recent banking crisis and introduced debt relief measures for the country’s most indebted municipalities like Rome, which is run by 5-Star.

The government also extended to year-end a state guarantee for bonds issued by troubled bank Carige.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, Editing by William Maclean

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