PM Orbán unveils National Protection Plan

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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán outlined the government's National Protection Plan for MPs in the first sitting of the autumn session on Monday.

The broad plan includes measures affecting the cost of borrowing, utilities prices and Hungarians with foreign currency-denominated mortgages. It envisions the introduction of a higher VAT rate for luxury purchases and the expansion of a public jobs program.

Orbán said the pace of reforms would be accelerated and a new sense of national solidarity established.

The government will extend the centrally-regulated price regime used for household energy to water, sewage and trash pickup services, he said, adding that the foreign owners of Hungarian utilities companies take "gigantic extra profit" from the country.

The government wants to introduce a 35% VAT rate for luxury purchases and reverse taxation in the farm sector, he said. The government is seeking approval from the European Commission on the matters, he added.

The government will set a 30% cap on Hungarian lenders' cost of borrowing indicator (APR), Orbán said. The step is part of a "zero tolerance" crackdown on usury, he added.

The government will take steps to prevent the owners of failed companies that owe back taxes from starting new businesses, he said. Owners of wound up companies that owe back taxes will not be issued a new tax number, he added.

If a public work program proves a success this year, people could join it en masse next year, participating first in the farm sector, in energy production and in big national investments, Orbán said. If somebody is offered work and refuses, they will not get money from the state, he added.

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