- 3 Dec 2016 7:00 AM
On Tuesday, PM Orbán announced that the government would increase pensions by 1.6 per cent (according to the original calculations, pensions would have followed the 0.9 per projected inflation rate). In addition, PM Orbán said that all pensioners would receive 10,000 Forints in the so-called Erzsébet vouchers as a Christmas gift.
Magyar Idők’s Ferenc Kis welcomes the government’s decision to top up the regular pension hike. He also praises the government for protecting the interests of pensioners by cutting consumption taxes on staple foods as well as keeping utility prices low. The pro-government commentator interprets all this as an indication that the government takes care not only of the middle classes but of pensioners as well.
In Népszava, György Sebes thinks that the announced pension hike is nothing less than a petty vote hunting project. In the left-wing pundit’s estimate, the hike will increase average pensions by less than 2,000 Forints a month and thus will be of little help for pensioners in need. As for the 10,000 Forint Christmas gift, Sebes notes that the Erzsébet vouchers cannot be spent on medicine and utility bills, and thus will not help those most in need. In conclusion, Sebes contends that the announced hike is intended to buy the support of the millions of Hungarian pensioners whose preferences may determine the outcome of any election.
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