02 February 2005

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GRTU calls for further changes to eco-contribution
By Julian Manduca

The GRTU has expressed its dissatisfaction at changes to the Eco-contribution did not also include a reduction in the charge for a number of articles which it believes will suffer too high a price. The GRTU is also afraid that eco-taxation could be extended to clothes.
In a media statement issued Monday, the GRTU announced it has informed minister for the environment George Pullicino that “the inclusion of items of bedding other than mattresses is extremely unjust and is causing unnecessary pain as consumers are learning that after the steep increase in the price of kerosene for heating and the surcharge on electricity which effectively precludes the use of electric heating, now even items of bedding are being taxed and that clothing may be next on line”.
The GRTU pointed out that among the items to suffer a Lm1 eco-contribution per item are: quilts and bedspreads, duvets (whether of down or any other filling), quilts for babies and baby carriages, chair covers, mattress protectors, and cushions.
The GRTU’s Secretary General Vince Farrugia told Pullicino: “These items are made of a mix of polyester and cotton also known as polycotton. This material has identical properties with the material used in a vast and long list of draperies and items of clothing including curtains, clothing and upholstery.
“Polycotton does not pose any additional hazard to the environment. Indeed the fact that this material is being classified by the Ministry as a potential waste hazard is raising the fear that the next list of items for eco-taxation will include personal clothing.”
The GRTU is now strongly urging minister Pullicino to reconsider his decision, and Vince Farrugia told him that if the items are exempt “the amount of money collected will not make a difference on government financing… but the taxation of these items will surely create a highly negative reaction as these items are already subject to a stiff 18 per cent VAT.”

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