World Day of Older Persons in Hungary
The government provides for elderly citizens by raising the value of pensions, paying pension premiums and supplements as well as offering women the option to retire early with 40 years’ employment, a state secretary of the human resources ministry told a press conference on Sunday.
The Orbán government has vowed to preserve the buying power of pensions, Katalin Novák noted. The government has surpassed its own promise, she said, arguing that the buying power of pensions had grown by 23 percent since 2010.
Legislation ensures that pensions are supplemented if inflation exceeds expectations, Novák said. The government has also pledged to have pensioners partake of national growth by paying a “pension premium” if economic growth surpasses 3.5 percent. Both supplements are expected to be due this year, Novák said.
Speaking of the option for women to retire after 40 years’ employment instead of at a set age, Novák said
the measure was “primarily a family policy supporting grandmothers who want to be with their grandchildren”.
Over 200,000 women have opted for earlier retirement, she said.
The prime minister’s commissioner for strategic social relations, Zsolt Nyitrai, said that the government has taken “several measures making the lives of the elderly easier” since 2010. Nyitrai cited the government’s scheme to cut public utility bills, the VAT cuts on basic food products and the Erzsébet programme offering cheap vacations as examples.
Speaking at a separate news conference marking the UN’s Day of Older Persons, Socialist MP Lajos Korozs said his party proposes a uniform 120,000 forint (EUR 384) 13th month pension. Nearly two-thirds of pensions are currently below this mark, Korozs noted.
Korozs vowed that his party would double the minimum pension and scrap the limitations of employment in retirement if it regained power.
He slammed Fidesz as “harming pensioners” by “using” the pension supplements he said they were entitled to from the beginning of this year. The supplement the government is paying in November should have been given in the beginning of the year, Korozs said, because the government had known that inflation was going to be higher than expected.
the government had also scrapped several options of early retirement,
which he said would be restored by a government headed by Socialist prime ministerial candidate László Botka.
Green opposition LMP’s Erzsébet Schmuck said
the quality of life of the elderly in Hungary was “shocking”,
and that LMP plans a 50,000 forint pension minimum and a “fair” raise favouring those with the lowest pensions. LMP plans to strengthen cooperation between generations and a “national minimum plan for the elderly”, she said.
Commenting on the opposition statements, ruling Fidesz said in a statement that the opposition “can only deceive and humiliate the elderly”.
The Socialists, who now promise the restoration of 13th month pensions, have humiliated pensioners when in government, the statement said. The last Socialist government “stripped pensioners of a month’s pension and raised utility costs steeply, which hit the elderly severely”, the statement said.