Budapest (MTI) – A Socialist lawmaker said on Thursday that pensioners would not be any better off next year because the government planned to slice off spending in areas affecting various pension schemes.
Lajos Korózs, deputy head of parliament’s welfare committee, said 17 billion forints (EUR 55m) less would be spent on benefits for people just about to reach retirement age, 3.5 billion less would be available for the widow’s pension while 2.5 billion would be sliced off the budget for caring for the disabled.
He told a news conference on Thursday that the spending cuts were humiliating given the 1.6 percent hike in pensions which lags behind the central bank’s forecast for inflation.
“The government felt there was a big problem, and that is why just before Christmas it handed out vouchers worth 10,000 forints, which over 12 months is worth 833 forints per month. This is how much the government values pensioners,” Korózs said.
Commenting on Korózs’s press conference, ruling Fidesz said the Socialist Party was “still lying” to pensioners. “The Socialists refuse to change. During their time in government they did nothing but lie to pensioners, and they are doing the same thing today,” the party said in a statement.
The left promised to raise pensions but then took away one month’s worth of pension income, Fidesz said. “They promised pensioners not to raise the price of gas but then ended up tripling it. They promised to reduce VAT on foodstuffs but went on to double it.” Contrary to Korózs’s claims, pension benefits today are not falling but rising, Fidesz said. From January, the average monthly pension income will rise by 2,000 forints and the VAT on basic foodstuffs will be reduced, saving pensioners further tens of thousands of forints, the party added.