Senators call prime minister to upper house to discuss theatre tax rise

The senate has called on prime minister Mark Rutte to come to the upper house of parliament on Tuesday evening to talk about the cabinet’s insistence on increasing the tax on theatre tickets from 6% to 19% from January 1.

On Monday, the government decided to ignore a motion from the senate calling on it not to increase value added tax on the performing arts.
But senators are still opposed to the plan, despite ministers assurances there are no alternatives.
They say it is unreasonable to expect theatres and other performing arts companies to cope with the tax rise when tickets have already been sold and budgets made.


In addition, senators from the ruling VVD and CDA have now urged the cabinet to delay the increase until the start of the new theatre season in September.
Technically, the decision to press ahead means the senate could now reject the cabinet’s entire 2011 tax plan during Tuesday evening’s debate.
However, commentators say this is very unlikely, as senators from VVD or CDA would be required to vote against the government.


In November, it emerged the VVD was prepared to look for alternative ways of raising €90m. However, the anti-Islam PVV, which wants to slash spending on culture, made the increase an essential part of its alliance with the minority government.
Junior finance minister Frans Weekers told the senate earlier on Tuesday that there is nothing he can do to head off the increase. And he denied the cabinet is pressing ahead with the rise to ‘get at’ the cultural sector.

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