In a statement made in the Parliament Building, the Prime Minister said that every pensioner will receive Erzsébet Vouchers to the value of HUF 10,000, funded from this year’s fiscal surplus. It is planned for the vouchers to be made available before Christmas, but in any event before January.
This is a gesture and an expression of respect for pensioners, Mr. Orbán said, adding that as it is part of a Christmas gesture, there is a need to avoid a debate about who will get less and who will get more. The Seniors Council recommended that every pensioner should receive vouchers worth HUF 10,000, and therefore the Prime Minister considered this a fair proposal. The measure will be presented to the Cabinet at its Wednesday meeting.
Mr. Orbán further confirmed that the pension increase planned for 2017 will be 1.6 per cent, instead of 0.9 per cent. In this context he said that, as is the custom at the end of every year, in November 2017 pensions will be adjusted in line with inflation if necessary. He explained that pensioners will be eligible for extra funds if inflation is higher than envisaged.
He pointed out that there was once a period in Hungary when at the end of the year the topic for debate was not a pension increase higher than the planned rate, but the measure which withdrew the “13th month” pension bonus. This year, however, “the Hungarian economy has run well”, the Prime Minister said, and therefore there is scope for talking about how pensioners may receive a share of the fiscal surplus accruing at the end of the year.
He remarked that this year there have been pay rises, the number of children eligible for free meals and free textbooks has increased, and the incremental increase of tax benefits available to families with two children has also begun. All this means that “this year the younger active generations have had their share from the economy’s expansion”.
“As far as we can see at this point in time, however, there is some money left or some more funds will become available by the end of the year, and pensioners must simply have a share of these funds in order for there to be justice, balance and fairness”, the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Orbán concluded his speech by saying that in 2017 the reduction in VAT on some basic foodstuffs, the “protection” of the cuts in household utility charges, the one-off benefit of HUF 10,000 and the 1.6 per cent pension increase are good news for pensioners.