The 2019 budget was published on a web platform, accessible via a QR code
Photo: Chamber of deputies/Flickr
The Luxembourg government unveiled its 2019 budget on Tuesday, in a quirky QR code format which, when scanned, takes viewers to a dedicated website.
Key takeaways from the 2019 budget:
A 6.8% increase for the housing ministry. Subsidies for social rental housing and low-cost housing would increase 17% and the budget for the low-cost housing body SNHBM would rise by 40%.
More than €2.5 billion earmarked for national education, children and youth. These investments will be used to finance measures such as parental leave (+€237 million compared to 2018), the childcare service voucher scheme (+€421 million compared to 2018) and psychosocial support for pupils with special needs (+18% compared to 2018). With regard to higher education, the finance minister said a further 6.5% is earmarked for scholarships. The financial contribution by the Luxembourg State to the University of Luxembourg and the various research centres will increase by €352 million compared to 2018.
The local authority income tax (IRC) will be reduced from 18% to 17% while the revenue threshold for which the minimal 15% IRC rate will be charged has been increased from €25,000 to €175,000. Finance minister Pierre Gramegna said this measure would help young startups and SMEs.
The Centre for State IT (CTIE) will have its budget increased by 17% in a bid to boost digital competitiveness.
The super-reduced 3% VAT rate will be applied to women’s hygiene products, such as sanitary towels and tampons, and all digital publications, including ebooks, and other online publications.
The excise on petrol will increase by a symbolic 1 cent per litre, and 2 cents per litre on diesel.
Investment in the environment and climate will be increased from €455m in 2018 to €710m in 2022. Globally, these investments make up a fifth of the total 2019 budget.
Expenditure and revenues
The government announced the central administration’s expenditure reached €19.6b, 48% of which is dedicated to social benefits and subsidies.
Revenues amounted to €18.9 billion, of which 47% came from direct taxes and 38% from indirect taxes.
The central administration has a negative balance sheet of €650 million. According to minister Gramegna, this will gradually decrease in order to get closer to balance in 2022.