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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-11-20

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Friday, November 20, 1998

Benefits sweeten the tax pill

THE GOVERNMENT'S taxation policies were given coverage yesterday, after the announcement of the series of benefits and tax breaks to help lower income groups.

Phileleftheros said the government's proposed social benefits were announced a few weeks before the discussion of the budgets for 1999 at the House. The measures, which will cost 10 million, would help the government secure the necessary votes for approval of its budgets and tax hikes.

Disy and Edek had welcomed the government's decision. Edek had made the introduction of social benefits for lower income groups a condition for approving the government's new taxation measures. Given the Edek leader's positive response to the announcement of the measures, his party's support for the new taxes seemed certain.

Haravghi took a more suspicious view of the measures, which it said constituted a "sugaring of the taxation pill", and an obvious attempt to gain Edek support for the news taxes.

Meanwhile, the Akel-controlled trade union Peo has warned that lower and middle income groups would not be able to cope with the proposed increase to VAT, from 8 to 12 per cent. Peo leader Avraam Antoniou, warned that the new taxes would be hurt the economy, especially small and middle-sized companies.

Simerini reported that the S-300 missiles would be brought to Cyprus with an escort of Russian warships, the whole process taking about three weeks. The Russian side had not been notified of any new postponement to the delivery, but had not been given the green light from Nicosia for loading the missiles.

Apparently, the government in Nicosia was waiting for the outcome of next week's meeting in Athens between President Clerides and Prime Minister Simitis before giving the go-ahead. If Simitis expresses objections to the arrival of the missiles, then the National Council would be asked to make a decision.

Alithia reported that Turkish aircraft were flying over Cyprus while warships docked in Kyrenia as part of the full-scale military exercise being carried out by the occupation forces. Two reconnaissance planes violated Cyprus airspace, flying over Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos.

It said that on Tuesday the Turks had carried out an airforce exercise in the Nicosia Flight Information Region (FIR). Two frigates and two submarines arrived in Kyrenia.

Machi led with a report about the four-hour work stoppage by public sector doctors, in protest against the government's refusal to recognise their breakaway union.

The government is refusing to negotiate with the doctors after the Attorney- general's opinion that the new union is not representative of the majority of public sector doctors. The reason is that many doctors had not resigned from Pasidy, the public sector union to which doctors originally belonged, and were therefore still considered members.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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