Poland to keep zero VAT on food in H1 2023, says PM

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attends a joint news conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin at the prime minister's official residence Kesaranta in Helsinki, Finland, on November 20, 2022. Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva/via REUTERS

WARSAW, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Poland will keep VAT on food staples at zero for the first half of 2023, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday, as it reshapes its anti-inflation measures ahead of 2023 elections.

Poland slashed taxes on everything from fuel to fertilizer to help consumers cope with surging inflation, but will have to return to higher taxes next year after the European Commission said this was not in line with the bloc's rules.

However, Brussels has allowed VAT on food staples to be kept at zero.

"We are trying... when it rains to give people an umbrella to help." Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.

"Above all zero VAT on food was such an umbrella, and today I want to stress that we are continuing that shield in the form that it has been up till now at least for the... first half of next year."

He said that the measure would cost around 8 billion zlotys ($1.77 billion).

Finance Minister Magdalena Rzeczkowska said she had asked ministers to prepare plans for savings of around 5% in their departments.

"We agreed on a threshhold of 5% and it is the decision of each minister over what period they will plan to make the savings," she said.

($1 = 4.5122 zlotys)

Reporting by Alan Charlish, Marek Strzelecki, Anna Koper; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

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