- 20 May 2021 10:20 AM
- Hungary Matters
The fact that the budget is being submitted as early as the spring will in itself help to kickstart the economy, Varga said, adding that the action plan to get the economy’s ball rolling was modern Hungary’s biggest economic programme ever and would help everyone affected by the epidemic make a recovery.
Budget funds will be channelled towards helping anyone who has lost a job back into the labour market and every entrepreneur who has been forced to shutter their business to restart and even develop it, the minister said, adding that the budget focused on supporting families and businesses, investments that create jobs, as well as developments in health care and higher education.
The government targets an economic growth of 5.2%, with a deficit target of 5.9% of GDP and public debt of 79.3%. Fully 7,308 billion forints (EUR 20.3bn) is pencilled in to restart the economy.
The draft 2022 budget is 483 billion forints larger than this year’s, Varga noted earlier. In order to manage risks, a 233 billion forint reserve fund has been set aside in the budget, the minister noted.
Parties react to draft budget
In the parliamentary debate on the proposal, Erik Bánki of ruling Fidesz said the budget aimed to help all Hungarians benefit from the country’s progress.
After launching a comprehensive economic protection plan in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Hungary has a good chance of becoming a “winner of the post-pandemic era”, he said.
The protection of families and entrepreneurs, the support of investments creating jobs, as well as of health care and education, will give the economy new momentum, he said.
Jobbik lawmaker Anita Potocska Kőrösi branded the government’s submission as an “election budget”.
Jobbik MP Dániel Z Kárpát said the draft would result in “the most cruel budget in Europe” which ignored entire social groups. He said the government was presiding over a “social catastrophe”, and he denigrated “the high VAT on basic foodstuffs”. He also said the details of major spending items had been omitted from the draft.
Bertalan Tóth, the leader of the Socialist Party, lambasted the budget as “a budget to bolster the Fidesz economy” and “a revenge budget”. The budget should build the country and help the people rather than “taking revenge on them”, he said. “Taxpayers’ money should not be spent on useless things so only the privileged one percent benefits,” he said.
Socialist lawmaker Attila Mesterházy said the budget was “also a choice of values”. The government gives to those who’ve already accumulated wealth rather than helping those with very little lobbying power, he said.
The Democratic Coalition (DK) said the budget was about “chasing pipedreams”. Lawmaker László Varju insisted the government’s estimate of next year’s growth was too high, while it failed to meaningfully reduce the deficit. He called the budget “a political and PR budget focused on power and next year’s elections, and on the interests of [Fidesz] loyalists.”