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Labour ministry looking into boosting low pensions

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The labour ministry is working to find a way to raise low pensions on the instructions of the president, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said on Wednesday.

“There have been some discussions, and there is a budget of around €22m to raise the allowance for low-pensions as part of social policy,” Emilianidou told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

On whether this would involve an additional amount of €50 a month, Emilianidou said various scenarios were being studied “to be able to help as much as we can. The allowance will be further increased.”

The matter will be discussed by the cabinet very soon, she said, adding that she expected this to be resolved before Christmas.

“At the time of the great economic crisis the government’s thoughts were with the vulnerable groups and the first move … was the establishment of the guaranteed minimum income (GMI) on which a lot of our fellow citizens depend,” she said.

Emilianidou also announced that the cabinet approved a new scheme for short holiday breaks to mountain resorts for low-income pensioners.

The scheme concerns low-income pensioners and pensioners on receive GMI, whose income does not exceed €20,000 for families, or €15,500 for individuals.

It provides for a €50 subsidy per day for accommodation of up to four days to resorts on the mountains and and Kato Pyrgos, in the Tylliria area, between March and May 2019.

“This is yet another attempt to afford vulnerable the opportunity to rest for a period of four days,” she said. The scheme is expected to cover 2,000 people.

As regards the Estia scheme, the minister said that there are some thoughts on how those who have had loans for primary homes and who have met their obligations can benefit from it.

The cabinet also approved a 10 per cent increase in the rent allowance for 4,500 beneficiaries staring on January 1, next year.

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