Raoul Hedebouw: "When Frank Vandenbroucke said that we were heading towards the kingdom of freedom, he screwed up"

This Friday morning, Raoul Hedebouw was the guest of Maxime Binet in “We need to speak”. The opportunity for the new president of the PTB-PVDA to come back to several topical subjects, and in particular to the increase in the energy bill.

For several weeks, gas and electricity prices have been soaring in Belgium. To cope with this surge in prices, the PTB pleads for a reduction in VAT to 6%, and this since 2007. “This remains very relevant. I don’t understand why, in Belgium, gas and electricity are taxed at 21%, which is in fact the tax rate for caviar and champagne“, begins the politician from Liège.”In Belgium, there is a rate that is provided for basic needs, and it seems to me that gas and electricity should fall into this category.“.

The problem is that in 2003, all parties sold us that the liberalization of the energy sector – and competition – would lower prices. It’s wrong. The liberalization of the sector has given this sector back to monopolies and multinationals who only think of one thing: to make money“, still laments the president of the PTB.”Due to the prices which have exploded globally and in Belgium, Engie-Electrabel will realize 2.6 billion euros in additional profits in 2020-2021. So let’s go get the money from Engie to reduce VAT“.

Some Vivaldi partners plead for other solutions, such as a one-off energy voucher worth € 200 per household. For Raoul Hedebouw, this is not enough: “With a reduction in VAT, we are in the order of 700 to 800 € of rebate per year“, he defends.

Then the president of the PTB again pleaded for an increase in wages and for a revision of the 1996 law on wage standards: “We must break the wage standard. I am for breaking the straitjacket imposed by Vivaldi against trade unions and their workers and allowing wages to increaser”.

“The obligation will not solve anything”

The former spokesperson for the far-left party then addressed the Covid crisis, and in particular the vaccine obligation advocated by several majority parties. “The vaccination obligation is not a solution. So what do we do with the unvaccinated, we put them in jail?“he asks himself.”The government has messed up for a year and a half to manage this whole Covid crisis, and now we want to solve the case through repression. I do not believe it“, criticizes Raoul Hedebouw, who advocates more dialogue:”You have to talk to people, listen to them reassure them … The obligation will not solve anything“.

This Thursday evening, the Corona police station issued an opinion, which does not advocate the vaccination obligation but the transformation of the current CST by a Corona Certificate, reserved only for vaccinated people. Nonsense, for the PTB: “CST screwed up, so don’t beat around the bush. CSE gave a false sense of security and it did not work. I do not understand why we want to continue in a strategy that has not worked“, he hammers.”A society of permanent control over our freedoms, I don’t believe in it. Much more investment is needed in prevention, normally for example by making self-tests free of charge.“.

The idea of ​​taxing the unvaccinated, as was recently imposed in Quebec, is also an aberration for the president of the PTB. “This is not serious. Where are we going to stop with this logic? Are we going to tax smokers, people who eat too much? The right to health is a universal right, and it should not be made conditional on behavior.”

Finally, Raoul Hedebouw criticized the lack of anticipation on the part of the authorities in the face of the evolution of the virus, in particular by presenting vaccination as the miracle solution: “When the Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke told us that we were heading for the kingdom of freedom, he screwed up“, he regrets.”A large number of experts said: the emergence of new variants is inherent in the life of a virus“.

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