A new bill on the VAT bases its proposals on the conclusion that each Icelander can live on about 750 ISK worth of food per day.
Vísir reports that Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has submitted a bill to parliament that proposes raising the VAT, amongst other changes. A great many of these changes are based on contentions of what Icelanders spend on food which have sparked criticism, even from within the Minsiter’s own party.
According to the Minister’s findings, which he says is based on data from Statistics Iceland, a family of four (consisting of a married couple and two children, with one under the age of seven) spends an average of 2,980 ISK per day on food. By extension, each Icelander can have three meals per day for only 745 ISK per day, or 248 ISK per meal.
Bryndís Loftsdóttir, an alternate MP for the Independence Party, is amongst those unhappy with the proposed changes to the VAT. As a mother with three children and a husband of her own, she believes the bill is based on unrealistic figures, telling reporters that her family spends about 2 million ISK on food per year – not the 988,000 ISK the bill presumes.
RÚV points out that meals in primary schools cost parents about 330 ISK per meal alone. At the same time, Jóhannes Gunnarsson, the director of the Consumers’ Association of Iceland, told DV he does not believe the Minister’s figures are in touch with reality.
“These figures don’t add up in my mind, and I believe they are seriously underestimated,” he said. “I think that anyone who buys food for their households can see that these numbers just don’t work. I would very much like to see the menu behind these figures.”