The Government kept its earlier promises made to pensioners. In actual fact, by far exceeding its promises, there is now more than one month’s worth of extra pension in the pockets of pensioners compared with 2010, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Human Capacities said at his press conference held on Tuesday in Budapest.

Upon outlining the figures concerning pensioners of the budget proposed for next year, Bence Rétvári said: the Government earlier pledged to preserve the purchasing power of pensions, but eventually there has been a 23.1 per cent increase over the course of six years, which amounts to a 9.5 per cent increase in terms of purchasing power.

The 2018 budget is the budget of people living off work, and at the same time, it delivers security to those who spent a lifetime in work, he said. He indicated: the budget reckons with a 3 per cent pension increase for 2.7 million people, and this group does not only include old-age pensioners, but also those receiving orphan’s benefits as well as those receiving 1956 and political rehabilitation pension supplements.

According to his account, the excess to be used for old-age pensions next year amounts to HUF 200 billion, as part of which they are allocating excess funds in the magnitude of HUF 26 billion for the Women 40 programme. He added: almost 190 thousand women having completed 40 years in employment and partially in raising children have already taken advantage of the benefits of the programme.

The State Secretary also highlighted that the allocation of provisions for pension bonuses in the budget had been unprecedented in recent years. He told the press: the HUF 32 billion 250 million will be available for disbursement if the economy delivers a growth rate in excess of 3.5 per cent and the planned deficit of the budget is not exceeded.

The Government is beginning to reap the fruit of its economic policy: we are able to guarantee a minimum 3 per cent increase in pensions next year from the Hungarian people’s hard work and the performance of the Hungarian economy, rather than from credit and foreign loans, he said.

Mr Rétvári further mentioned among the measures with a favourable impact on pensions the reduction of the VAT on basic foodstuffs, the reduction of household utility charges, the ongoing reduction of the prices of medicines, the holiday opportunities available within the framework of the Erzsébet Programme, and the extension of home care.

Among the most important measures implemented by the Government, he also mentioned the job protection action plan seeking to promote the employment of people over the age of 55 years which has a major impact on the amounts of pensions later on as it is not irrelevant how much one earns in the last few years spent in employment. Employers now avail themselves of this benefit in the case of seven out of ten employees in their last few years in employment before retirement, and as a result, they may expect higher pensions, he said, adding: they have spent some HUF 183 billion in total for the purposes of this incentive programme in the last few years.

He also pointed out that those retiring now receive a higher percentage of their earlier earnings than they did during the terms of the socialist governments. At the lowest point of socialist governance, pensioners may have expected to receive 54 per cent of their former salaries as their pensions. This percentage has now risen to 67 per cent, the Parliamentary State Secretary said.