Vooruit is fighting what it calls the ‘grabbing inflation’ of large companies. The Flemish socialists put three proposals on the table that, according to the party, should help protect purchasing power. “Many large companies abuse inflation to drive their prices up abnormally,” says Melissa Depraetere. “Their hunger for profit now determines prices. That is unacceptable.”
According to the leader of the parliamentary party, a small group of large companies undermines our prosperity out of self-interest by asking prices that are much higher than their actual costs and normal profit margins. “Multinationals can raise their prices considerably, because they have a monopoly and sell essential products. Everyone needs food, energy and a bank account. Supermarkets, energy companies and banks benefit enormously from this.” Vooruit is launching three proposals to curb the power of large companies.
Temporary maximum prices
For example, according to the party, the Price Observatory must intervene when companies charge absurdly high prices for products or services. That Price Observatory already monitors the prices of many basic products and compares them with prices abroad.
Vooruit wants to expand that role and have the institute intervene, for example by temporarily introducing maximum prices, maximum profit margins or price blocks in the event of serious market disruptions. According to Depratere, a bill on this is already ready.
Excess profit tax
In addition, Vooruit advocates a structural excess profit tax. In addition, the “exorbitant profits” made by large companies must flow back to society and to the wages of those who work for those profits.
These are companies that have more than 8 percent return on their total assets. If some companies make excessive profits while working people can hardly pay their bills, it is only right that we skim those billions right away and use them to protect purchasing power, it says.
In a third proposal, the party wants to break the market power of large companies by organizing competition and capping prices. For example, she argues for a ban on charging ancillary costs for banks and insurance companies, a ban on commissions between insurance companies and brokers and further reductions in the costs charged by civil-law notaries and bailiffs.
“Our proposals will end the omnipotence of big companies and put the interests of consumers first. That is good for people’s purchasing power, good for our companies and SMEs and good for our prosperity”, says Melissa Depraetere.
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