Budapest, November 7 (MTI) – People in Hungary need higher salaries so that they have a “free choice of how they want to live”, Jozsef Tobias, leader of the opposition Socialist Party, said on Saturday.
Tobias insisted that in terms of incomes Hungary was lagging behind the rest of Europe and the gap between the country’s rich and poor was increasing.
In lack of competitive salaries Hungary’s youth will seek jobs in other countries, Tobias suggested.
“A pay hike in the public sector requires new legislation; higher pay for millions working in the real economy requires a new government,” Tobias said, and insisted that his party would be ready to govern in 2018.
Tobias said that the tax burden on private companies was too great to ensure higher net wages.
Lajos Korozs, deputy head of parliament’s welfare committee, criticised the ruling parties for rejecting a proposal to help starving children. He insisted that the only effort the government had done against poverty was to “ban the word” and also criticised the Central Statistical Office for suppressing poverty data.
Unless people in health care or unskilled workers make a monthly 70,000 forints (EUR 223) they should be considered slaves, Korozs insisted. “If a person makes just enough for accommodation and food, they are slaves; even slaves had somewhere to live and something to eat,” he argued.
Referring to an OECD survey, Korozs said that Hungary’s residents “earn low, have negligible reserve, live under bad housing conditions, in bad health and their life expectancy is low”. Citing the findings of Habitat for Humanity, Korozs said that 1.5 million Hungarians live in “housing poverty”, while 30,000 are homeless and another half million live in a damp environment or under leaking roofs. Fully 76 percent of Hungary’s households are unable to cover unexpected costs, Korozs added.