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Polish MPs back plan to freeze household gas prices

02.12.2022 06:30
Polish lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved a plan to freeze natural gas tariffs for households at 2022 levels to reduce the impact of surging prices on consumers.

Climate Minister Anna Moskwa said last month that the government was proposing "a 100-percent freeze on the gas tariff that households will pay at this year’s level in terms of the net amount."

She added that there would be no income criteria for the tariff freeze.

Additionally, around 300,000 low-income households would be eligible for government support with gas bills, according to officials.

Anna Moskwa Anna Moskwa. Photo: Polish Radio/PR1

The lower house of parliament on Thursday approved those plans in a 424-0 vote with 16 abstentions, state news agency PAP reported.

The measure now goes to the Senate, the upper house of Poland's parliament, for further debate.

It is expected to cost public coffers around PLN 30 billion (EUR 6.4 billion, USD 6.7 billion) in total, according to officials.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a social media post last month: "I know that many families that use gas to heat their homes are worried about what's in store for them in the coming months. My government has prepared a set of relief measures at this time of Putinflation."

The Polish prime minister said earlier last month that his government would extend its anti-inflation policies to the next year, but would modify their shape to allay the concerns of the European Commission.

Morawiecki told reporters at the time that Russia “through its price policy, through its energy policy, has caused a dramatic surge in energy prices across Europe.”

He added the soaring energy prices “have also affected Polish entrepreneurs, as well as increasing the costs faced by all the institutions and households.”

Morawiecki declared: “Our measures in response to Putin and Russia’s energy war are designed to alleviate these enormous costs.” 

He added the government was seeking to protect people against rising prices “in various ways” amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

Morawiecki has said he hopes inflation will begin to fall "by the end of the first quarter of 2023, maybe in the second quarter of 2023,” although “it will hit us hard during the winter months, when the prices of energy commodities are so steep.”

Mateusz Morawiecki Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: Adam Guz/KPRM

The Polish government’s “anti-inflation shield” includes scrapping value-added tax (VAT) on food, cutting the tax on fuel to 8 percent, and reducing the VAT on gas and heat, among other measures, according to officials. 

Friday is day 282 of Russia's war in Ukraine.


Source: PAP, Reuters