Superbonus scheme ends and businesses fear bankruptcy. Image by Borko Manigoda en Pixabay

Government holds talks over ending ‘Superbonus’

Business News

The Italian government held a round of talks today with business associations amid fears that changes it has made to State incentives for building renovation work, known as the ‘Superbonus’, could push many construction firms into bankruptcy and cost thousands of jobs.

Last week the government approved a decree ending the so-called ‘invoice-discount’ (‘sconto in fatture’) scheme. The scheme allowed people to use credits from the State to pay for renovations. This includes via the ‘Superbonus’ system in which up to 110% of the cost of the work is covered.

The idea of the state incentives was to boost energy efficiency. However, the government said the scheme needed to end for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was too costly for the public coffers. Secondly, it inflated the prices of building work and lastly it was susceptible to fraud.

 The decree ends the ‘invoice-discount’ scheme, except for projects that have already started. It now reverts to the old system under which people who have renovation work have to fork out all the money up front, but can then get tax rebates spread out over several years.

The decree also stops public authorities buying credits linked to the scheme.

Government defends decision

On Sunday Meloni defended the government’s decision, saying the Superbonus has cost the State €2,000 for everyone in Italy. If the system had not ended the government would have no money left over for its 2023 budget, she added.

Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said on Monday a priority must be to unblock the market for credits linked to these incentives. “The big issue is the stranded credits,” Pichetto Fratin said. “The problem is that businesses have €15billion of credit with the State that they are unable to cash in.

“A credit (that has not been paid out) could determine the bankruptcy of these companies”.

Construction sector groups have raised fears of widespread bankruptcies.

“Deflate” bubble of construction credits

The government has to “deflate” a €19billion bubble of credits for the construction industry granted as part of the Superbonus green building subsidy scheme, Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti told sector representatives on Monday.

“The solution we are seeking is on the entire stock of credits, €110billion.”

“The urgency now is on the stock of credits that, according to the findings of the revenue agency, refer to companies in the construction sector, which have the existence to date of some €19billion ‘stranded’ credits.

“The effort we are making today and in the coming days with the technical talks is how to deflate this bubble”.

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