Heating oil subsidies may be handed out before the fuel is distributed this winter as the government aims to ease the impact of last year’s tax hike, while stopping short of reducing the levy.
Kathimerini understands that the Finance Ministry is set to increase efforts to give out the subsidies ahead of heating oil distribution beginning on October 15. As only 80 million euros of the 260 million euros made available was used up last year, when the government raised heating oil tax to the same level as vehicle fuel, the ministry may also broaden the eligibility criteria. Last year, families earning under 35,000 euros a year could claim the subsidy. For singles, the income limit was 25,000 euros.
“We aim to ease the criteria and examine what went wrong [last year]. Perhaps there was not enough awareness,” said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras regarding the subsidy.
Stournaras has been under pressure to reduce the tax on heating oil but insisted Wednesday that this was not possible because it would hamper the effort to tackle fuel smuggling and would create a hole in public finances. “Unfortunately, public finances are paramount at the moment,” he said. “Any tax cut is positive but on the other hand the government loses revenues.”