Italy PM says new 'citizens' income' to boost economy

FILE PHOTO - Offices are seen at the Gae Aulenti square at Porta Nuova district downtown Milan , Italy, March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

(Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte predicted on Wednesday that his government’s “citizens’ income” welfare scheme, which opened to applications earlier in the day, would provide a major boost to the country’s flagging economy.

“I’m sure it will have a positive impact on domestic demand,” Conte told a news conference in Belgrade after meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

The citizens’ income, aimed at tackling poverty, will cost state coffers 7.1 billion euros (6.1 billion pounds) this year, 7.8 billion in 2020 and 8.0 billion in 2021.

Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Francesca Piscioneri