8 Sep 2011

Austerity programme approved

7:53 am on 8 September 2011

The Senate in Italy has approved an austerity programme to balance the budget in 2013 in a vote of confidence called by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The plan, which was radically overhauled on several occasions during its passage through the Senate, passed by 165 - 141 votes, with three abstentions.

The revised package, worth some 54 billion euros, will now pass to the lower Chamber of Deputies where Mr Berlusconi also has a majority.

Also on Wednesday, Greece stepped up its deficit reduction plans and France approved a 12 billion euro package of budget savings, largely by clamping down on tax breaks.