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National bank publishes report

Belgium’s two biggest trades unions have reaffirmed their position on the need to increase spending power. The unions did so in a reaction to the National Bank of Belgium’s annual report that was published today.

The Governor of the National Bank Guy Quaden (large photo) said that people should not exaggerate the impact that the rise in inflation has had on their standard of living.

Mr Quaden added that most Belgians have a high enough income to be able to cope with the price rises.

However, the unions’ reaction to the Governor’s words has been one of scepticism.

The Christian trades union ACV says that it is not clear about what the Mr Quaden actually means.

 (Belga) The union’s Chairman’s Luc Cortebeeck (photo) told the VRT that wealth needs to be more shared out more fairly

"There is currently a group of people that have seen their living standard constantly improve."

"However, there is an ever-growing group of people that are having to manage with less disposable income."

Meanwhile, the socialist trades union said that the National Bank should have taken a harsher stance on the deduction of notional interest. The tax incentive to companies (both Belgian and foreign) is an interest deduction for risk capital and was introduced in 2004.

On Wednesday the socialist trades union called the scrapping of what it described as "fiscal gifts" to companies.