Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has promised every pensioner in Hungary a 1.6 percent rise in their pensions starting next year, and a gift of HUF 10,000 (USD 34) by the end of this year, reports index.hu.
Orbán announced his plans after a meeting of the Elders’ Council in Parliament on Tuesday. The HUF 10,000 will be in the form of vouchers – the so-called Erzsébet Utalvány – that can be used in lieu of cash as payment for services, food and recreational activities. Orbán called the cash gift “a gesture, an expression of respect for pensioners.” He said the country’s 2.7 million pensioners would receive their vouchers by the end of the year, if not by the Christmas holiday.
The head of government said the pensioners should also benefit from the year’s budget surplus and the fact that Hungary’s economy “was on a good track this year.”
“As we see it, now that some money has remained or will remain by the end of the year, pensioners must share in that,” said Orbán, in order for “a state of truth, balance and honesty to come about.”
He promised a 1.6 percent increase in pensions and further discounts in household utility costs, as well as reductions on value added tax (VAT) for certain grocery items.
The announcement come on the heels of last week’s decision by parliament to increase minimum wage for unskilled and skilled laborers 23 percent and 32 percent, respectively, over the next two years.