The Czech economy is slowly recovering from a long period of economic downturn but in some parts of the Czech Republic the recession is far from over. One of the worst hit areas is the north-eastern Ostrava region where more than 100,000 people are unemployed. Ostrava is now bracing for worse as some of the major employers such as coal mines and steel works are facing serious difficulties.
Overall confidence in the economy among Czechs is reported to have gone up in August. According to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Monday, the overall economic sentiment indicator went up by 1.4 points month-on-month. Sectors where confidence increased most include services, business and consumer confidence which went up by more than three percentage points month-on-month and almost ten percentage points year-on-year. The monthly business indicator went up by 0.8 percentage points although its still lags behind levels registered in August 2012. The confidence indices in the construction and trade sectors have both decreased as compared to last year.
The leader of the Social Democratic party, Bohuslav Sobotka, has said that if his party were to form a government after the next elections, it would strive to introduce a higher income tax for high earners. In an interview with the iDnes news website, Mr. Sobotka said that an income tax between 27 and 29 percent for people earning more than 100 thousand crowns a month would help decrease government debt. The leading left-wing party also came out with a 21-point campaign platform on Saturday afternoon, which promises the creation of new jobs, an increase of the minimum monthly wage from 8.5 to 12 thousand crowns and a lower VAT for medicine.
The number of court foreclosures registered in the Czech Republic dropped by over 30 percent in the first six months of this year to 320,000, the Czech Bailiffs’ Association said. The head of the association said the drop was caused by better public awareness and changes to the legislation. In 2012, the number of foreclosures dropped by 13 percent compared to the previous year despite a sudden rise in foreclosure filings in early 2012 over new legislation that came into force in March, the association said.
Leader of the Social Democratic party, Bohuslav Sobotka, said that if his party were to form a government after the next elections, it wants to introduce a new higher income tax for high earners. In an interview with the iDnes news server, Mr. Sobotka said that an income tax between 27 and 29 percent for people earning more than 100 thousand crowns a month will help decrease government debt. The leading left-wing party also came out with a 21-point campaign platform on Saturday afternoon, which promises the creation of new work places, increase of the minimum monthly wage from 8.5 to 12 thousand crowns and lowering of the VAT for medicine.
The Czech Senate will reject legislation that would cut taxes for investment funds and introduce a zero tax on dividends, Senate speaker Milan Štěch and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters on Friday. The Social Democrats control the Senate with 46 out of 81 seats. The officials said the legislation, put forth by the previous centre-right government and approved by the lower house, would result in serious losses for the state budget. However, the bills are part of legislation needed for a new civil code to enter into force on January 1, 2014. Mr Stěch said the government could deal with the situation via the so-called legal measures the Senate can adopt while the lower house is dissolved.
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The country’s biggest bank, Česká Spořitelna has reported problems with its internet banking service which reportedly affected thousands of clients who use the mobile operator T-mobile. The service was reportedly disrupted between Wednesday mid-day and late Thursday morning. It is now fully functional but according to the bank’s spokesperson an increased number of banking orders in the wake of the fall-out may cause a slight delay in the processing of requests.
The latest figures suggest that the longest recession in modern Czech history is over. The Czech Statistical Office reported the country’s gross domestic product increased by 0.7 percent in the second quarter of this year. If confirmed, the Czech economy would have grown for the first time in 18 months. The growth has been very fragile and fuelled mainly by exports while domestic spending remains depressed – but can exports provide a base for sustainable growth? And what can the caretaker Czech government do to boost the recovery? In this edition
The Czech National Theatre has been guilty of financial irregularities for several years, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday, citing an audit completed under a former minister of culture. The institution’s new director, Jan Burian, told the newspaper that the theatre had broken the Labour Code with regard to the payment of taxes and health and social insurance. The National Theatre was recently in the news when Mr. Burian was sacked by the current minister of culture before being reinstated a few days later. A number of actors quit in protest, though most have since returned.
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