Italy's Monti wins austerity confidence vote

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Italy's Monti wins austerity confidence vote

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Italy’s new government has won a parliamentary confidence vote on its anti-crisis austerity package.

The lower house, as expected, overwhelmingly approved Prime Minister Mario Monti’s tax increases, spending cuts and pension reforms. The Senate is also set to back the plan by Christmas.

But public transport workers are not so keen. On Friday they brought buses, trains and underground services to a standstill nationwide to protest moves they say hit ordinary Italians and spare the rich.

Some passengers on the sharp end of the disruption seem to sympathise.

“People are tired,” said Rome resident Ernesta Ingegnieri. “They are not living anymore because salaries, pensions and a whole load of things are collapsing.”

While commuters are having to be patient, the austerity moves march on. Monti’s cabinet of unelected technocrats is racing to push the package through with a view to balancing Italy’s budget by 2013.