Government criticized for pension steps

In Hungary

The government will spend 8.4% more on pensioners in 2008 than this year, thus on top of the projected 4.9% pension raise for next year.

MP László Iván of opposition party Fidesz dubbed the year of 2008 as the crisis-year for pensioners. He calculates a pension inflation of 12% - 13%, in which case the Ft 2,677 billion allocated in the central budget for pensions would hardly cover the subsistence of elderly Hungarians.

László also drew attention to the fact that since the new pensions will be 8% lower than the current, there must be a lot of people who will retire this year to add to the present 3 million pensioners figure. Besides, the government dealt a blow to working pensioners, too, by setting the limit of minimum wage for their salary, supposing they work 12 months a year, he added.

The government will spend 8.4% more on pensioners in 2008 than this year, thus on top of the projected 4.9% pension raise for next year, more than 700,000 retired people will get an extra increase, spokesperson Dávid Daróczi announced at a press conference last week. As part of the equitable pension program, the government will use Ft 37 billion for the extra raise of 520,000 old-age pensioners and 240,000 pensioners with disability, the spokesperson added.

The percentage basis of pensions will also change from the current 1.5% annual increase for those who have more than 40 years of service to 2% from January, 2008, to endorse longer active years, the spokesperson explained. (Gazdasági Rádió)

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