Italian government easily defeats vote of no-confidence

Italian government easily defeats vote of no-confidence
By Robert Hackwill
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Shrugs off criticisms to pass 2019 budget that bows to Brussels and does not go nearly as far with public spending increases as first planned.

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Italy's coalition government appears to have caved in under pressure from the European Commission at the 11th hour not to pass a deficit-busting budget, and has easily survived a vote of no-confidence in parliament to push it through.

The prime minister described the budget as the "first step of a broad and ambitious plan of reform" which would "turn Italy inside out like a sock".

With economic growth revised down to just 1% for next year Italy needs something to electrify its moribund economy, and Giuseppe Conte is also betting on tax cuts and a new "citizen's wage" to stimulate consumption, while higher taxes on gambling, banks and insurers may help plug the deficit.

It remains to be seen if the coalition's electors agree, as they backed a huge increase in spending that the EU ruled offside, and may be angered that the anti-establishment party they backed seems to have rolled over so easily.

The opposition hates everything about the budget, and protested noisily outside during the confidence vote.

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