CORRECTED-Italy minister never heard talk about using Bank of Italy gold

(Corrects year in second paragraph to 2020)

ROME, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Italian Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio, responding to a newspaper report, said on Monday he had never heard anyone in the government speak about using gold reserves held by the Bank of Italy to plug budget shortfalls.

La Stampa newspaper reported the government was considering using part of the country’s gold reserves to avoid a budget correction for this year and a VAT increase in 2020.

“I’ve never heard talk in cabinet meetings or any other political settings about getting our hands on the Bank of Italy’s gold,” Centinaio said in an interview with Radio Capital. (Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio and Steve Scherer, writing by Steve Scherer Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)