Rudi Vervoort.

The Brussels government is counting on a return to balance in 2024.

By Belga

Published on 10/13/2021 12:37 PM
Reading time: 4 min

Lhe Brussels government has agreed on a draft budget for the year 2022, he announced late in the morning on Wednesday.

To stay the course with a view to a return to equilibrium – excluding strategic investments – in 2024, he has found the means to compensate for a shortfall of some 360 ​​million euros. To do this, he expects some 117 million additional revenue compared to last year, without an increase in regional taxes, on a spreading of investment spending to the tune of 140 million euros, i.e., according to the Minister of Finance. and Budget Sven Gatz, some 10% of the total and out of 105 million euros in structural savings.

The Brussels ministers are planning another year of transition in terms of CoCom spending for managing the health crisis. Means are thus provided for the third phase of vaccination and for contact tracing.

The deal had been in the air since Tuesday night. There were still a few figures and a communication to be refined.

“Faced with the difficult budgetary context due to the health crisis, the government is setting up a controlled budget but is continuing to invest in improving the quality of life of Brussels residents, for access to housing for all and to employment, in favor of peaceful mobility, and to meet its climate commitments ”, argued the executive in a joint communication.

“With the economic recovery, smoothing out some planned investments and making the necessary savings, we can close the gap of some 360 ​​million in shortfalls that have been identified. We have thus succeeded in keeping the budget in the right direction, without increasing taxes for Brussels residents, ”commented Budget Minister Sven Gatz.

According to him, some revenues of the Capital Region turned out to be significantly higher than forecast, reaching 117 million euros. This is the case, for example, for inheritance, registration and gift taxes. The economy of the Brussels Region is on the rise again.

In addition, the Vervoort government will save $ 140.7 million by seeing sprawl or postponing a number of investments. Project studies, such as construction sites, have experienced slowdowns due to the health situation. The Brussels executive remains a “very large public investor with 1.3 billion euros invested per year”, he observed in a joint communication from the ministers.

Finally, the Brussels government has agreed to make savings of 105 million euros – according to Minister Gatz, via the management of personnel, operating and subsidy expenses – and “thus shows that it is taking its responsibilities” .

“The ambitions set out in the Regional Policy Declaration, reflected in the multi-year budget for housing and mobility skills, for the climate transition and for increasing the employment rate of Brussels residents, remain intact. The implementation of the Housing Emergency Plan is thus ensured. Infrastructure work for the metro is continuing as well as the adaptation of roads for peaceful mobility. The increase in the public transport offer, as well as the acceleration of the thermal phase-out of the STIB bus fleet are guaranteed. In addition, investments in fire stations will be continued in 2022 ”, the Vervoort government further underlined after its work.

The government is also continuing the trajectory of massive investments in the Brussels climate transition, including building insulation and economic transition, notably through the involvement of construction professionals and circular economy players in the Renolution program. In addition, significant resources are also planned for a just transition as part of the fight against fuel and water poverty.

The 2022 budget also provides for additional resources for local authorities “very much in demand during the health crisis”, and which “have demonstrated their effectiveness in the service of the people of Brussels”. The regional government has thus released the means to upgrade local civil service workers and increase the supply of sports infrastructure.

Finally, additional resources are planned to strengthen the equal opportunities policy.

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