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Reuters

Italy’s government is working on an emergency decree worth at least 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion) to help consumers with the rise in energy bills, the head of the co-ruling right-wing League party Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday.

“The government is working on an urgent decree worth at least 5 billion euros to help families and businesses pay their electricity and gas bills,” Salvini said in a statement.

The government has budgeted some 10 billion euros since last July to curb energy bills for consumers and firms.

Salvini recently called for an increase in the deficit worth at least 30 billion euros but the Treasury, keen to reduce the budget deficit this year to 5.6% of national output from 9.4% targeted in 2021, is resisting pressure.

Employers association Confindustria has calculated surging energy bills will cost the industry some 37 billion euros this year compared with 20 billion euros last year and just 8 billion euros in 2019.

Energy Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani on Monday warned that high energy bills could offset resources Italy expects from the EU Recovery Fund next year which are worth about 39 billion euros.

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