Statistics chief threatens to stop reporting debt figures due to cuts
Italy’s national statistics body (Istat) has threatened to cease issuing data on the economy, saying it had been crippled by spending cuts aimed at reducing national debt.
The eurozone’s third biggest economy, whose statistics are closely watched as the country’s huge state debts put it at the euro financial crisis, would face stiff European Union fines if the flow of data is cut off, Istat president Enrico Giovannini said.
“Spending cuts are putting Istat at risk. From January onwards we will not issue any statistics,” Mr Giovannini told an Italian daily newspaper.
Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government has unveiled plans to cut public spending by €4.4 billion in 2012, €10.6bn in 2013 and over €11bn in 2014, to be mainly achieved through a planned 10 per cent reduction in public sector employees.
Planned government cuts would reduce financing to Istat to €150-160m by 2013 from €176m currently, Mr Giovannini said. He said that was half what is set aside for national statistics in France and one-third of what available in Nordic countries.
Mr Giovannini called the planned cuts “ unsustainable “.
He said Istat produced 300 sets of data a year, up 25 per cent from two years ago and 2,000 smaller reports. Seventy per cent of its output is aimed at meeting obligations with the EU.
“We will not issue data on inflation, deficit, household income, job data. That will trigger very high EU fines for our country for every day of delay,” he said. “I do not think the government and the parliament in Rome will want to get to that point.”
The government could finetune its planned spending cuts when it discusses the new budget law in the autumn.
Some Istat data releases have been disrupted or delayed in recent weeks by a group of staff protesting over the fact that a promotion they won two years ago has not yet been recognised.
Many Istat employees are on temporary contracts and would be easier to lay off than permanent staff.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west