Italy suspends mortgage repayments and tax bills – could threaten membership of the euro

Italy’s deputy economy minister Laura Castelli has confirmed mortgage payments and other household bills will be suspended until further notice. The drastic fiscal measure will also halt payments for tax bills and interest payments for businesses across the country. Ms Castelli when asked on the possibility of suspending payments, she said: “Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households.”

Italy is the third largest economy in the eurozone and the outbreak of the coronavirus has put the country on the brink of a recession.

Italy has the highest number of deaths outside of China due to the coronavirus.

Douglas Carswell, former UKIP MP, has warned Italy’s membership of the euro could be under threat.

He wrote on Twitter: “I wonder if Italian membership of the Euro might be one casualty of the Coronavirus?

“Macroeconomic consequences of outbreak hard to judge, but such a scenario is conceivable.”

He added: “And now Italy suspends all mortgage payments. The Italian banking sector – and possibly membership of the Euro – could be a casualty.”

The increased financial measures come after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte put the whole country on lockdown.

In Italy 9,172 people have been infected with Covid-19 with 463 deaths.

Mr Conte urged all 60 million Italians to stay home.

The only travel allowed will be for proven work reasons, health conditions or other cases of necessity.

Mr Conte said: “Our habits must be changed, changed now.

“We all have to give up something for the good of Italy.

“When I speak of Italy, I speak of our dear ones, of our grandparents and of our parents.

“We will succeed only if we all collaborate and we adapt right away to these more stringent norms.”

The nationwide restrictions take effect on Tuesday until April 3 and include extending the closures of schools and universities and closing bars and restaurants.

This is a developing news story, more to follow 

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