Main opposition party AKEL on Sunday presented proposals to tackle income inequality and support vulnerable groups, as well as for revising the law on the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) scheme.
“AKEL’s effort is to protect those in need,” party leader Andros Kyprianou said during a news conference to present the proposals. He said they could be implemented “without delay”.
“In Cyprus we have the highest rate of growth in the gap between the few who are rich and everyone else, while during the three years of Mr Anastasiades’ and Mr Averof Neophytou’s government, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer,” said Kyprianou.
“Victims of these policies are all those, whom Mr Anastasiades had committed to protect, in particular workers, the unemployed and pensioners. There are ways to remedy the situation and to reduce economic inequality by the redistribution of national wealth”.
As regards, protection of workers’ incomes, Kyprianou suggested setting binding basic conditions of employment, such as wages, mandatory holidays, compensation for overtime and the 13th salary.
For vulnerable groups AKEL’s suggestions include changing income criteria concerning child allowance and student allowance so that the number of a family’s dependent children is taken into consideration. He also proposed a special financial support scheme for low-income young couples and for unemployed couples.
He also called for the need to revise the GMI as regards the assessment for elderly care. Kyprianou said that the financial support of disabled people should be regulated by separate legislation and should not be included in the GMI.
Other recommendations include regulations for single parents and those who have not yet divorced, and to limiting the calculation of alimony as income.
Kyprianou said AKEL was not suggesting these proposals because it was an election period. His party had filed a number of similar proposals in previous years, he said.
He added that proposals for redistribution could be implemented without additional costs, through further taxing wealthier income groups.