Government wants to be able to raise pensions without Parliament’s consent
In line with a government proposal approved by Parliament late last year the country’s close to 3 million pensioners will be paid out a one-off bonus of 1,200 crowns in February to make up for the low valorization of pensions in 2016. Following lengthy disputes on the issue in the lower house, the government now says it wants to be able to increase pensions without Parliament’s consent in the future.
Meanwhile, the government says that in view of the complications it wants to be able to increase pensions above the sum stipulated by the law without Parliament’s consent in the future and has drafted a proposed change of legislation to that effect. The idea has raised a storm of opposition from backbenchers. The head of the Civic Democrats Petr Fiala said this would give the government unprecedented powers in public spending.
The head of TOP 09, Miroslav Kalousek, is also vehemently opposed to the idea saying it would inevitably be abused in election campaigns. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová has dismissed the criticism, saying the government merely wants to ensure greater expedience in helping the most vulnerable group of the population.
“I think the government should have greater flexibility to act in the event of need and we are only proposing that it should be able to raise pensions independently up to a given limit –of approximately 200 crowns. And I think that in view of the complications and delays that accompanied the Parliamentary debate I think demand for the government to be able to act alone is legitimate and then pensioners could get the money in January as was intended.”