Poland announces tax cuts to ease soaring inflation

Poland’s prime minister announced a second round of sales tax cuts as part of the right-wing government’s efforts to fight inflation after hitting a 21-year high last month

WARSAW, Poland — Polish Prime Minister Mattusz Morawiecki announced a second round of sales tax cuts on Tuesday as part of the right-wing government’s efforts to fight inflation after it hit a 21-year high last month.

Morawiecki blamed high energy costs for the spike in consumer prices, saying it was the result of Russian gas prices and EU policies on greenhouse gas emissions. However, the head of the International Energy Agency said the surge in demand for fossil fuels played a bigger role, with opposition leaders accusing the ruling party of holding on to coal for too long.

The prime minister said a rebound in commodity demand since the coronavirus pandemic has also contributed to a surge in inflation.

The announcement comes as the government is facing strong criticism from individuals and professional groups over its complex personal income tax system introduced on January 1.

Morawiecki had said that the “Polish Order” system would benefit most Poles, especially those with low incomes, but police and pensioners spent significantly less in January than in December, which caused the public outrage.

The government has accused employers’ accountants of incorrect calculations and pledged to balance spending in the coming weeks.

Other anti-inflation tax cuts and aid for the hardest-hit families, announced in November and effective Dec. 20, cost the government about 10 billion zlotys ($2.5 billion).

Consumer prices rose 8.6 percent in December from a year earlier, the highest level since November 2000, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

.