AKEL has come under attack for exploiting the state assistance schemes for the pandemic, taking close to €50,000 as a political party from the taxpayer.
“The party that supposedly cares for working people and society exploited the state schemes for the pandemic and took a subsidy depriving money from those that needed it,” said Disy spokesman Demetris Demetriou on Wednesday, insisting there was a moral issue.
Akel’s branches in Famugusta, Larnaca, Paphos and Limassol as well the party’s youth wing Edon and women’s wing Pogo took a total of €46,800 in the three phases of the scheme, while Akel-controlled union Peo received some €260,000 over the same period, the total revenue for Akel exceeding €300 thousand.
Unions had all applied for state assistance, with Sek receiving €237,000 and Deok €32,500. Public servants’ union Pasydy claimed a little under €5,000. Only one other political party applied for state assistance – the fledgling Depa, which received €3,500.
The rest of the parties had not applied as they could not claim a 25 per cent fall in turnover, a requirement for businesses to be eligible to join the scheme. They had all received their state subsidies for 2020 unchanged from the previous year. Akel received €1.6 million from the taxpayer in subsidies for this year, only Disy having been paid a higher amount (€1.9 million)
“Is Akel morally justified, as a political entity to receive a subsidy to cover the wages of its employees, when the state subsidy to the parties was unchanged,” asked Disy vice president Annita Demetriou.
In an announcement, the Solidarity Movement described the participation of Akel and its organisations in the scheme as “unacceptable” and said: “For Solidarity it is immoral and unjustified for parties to cite reduction in turnover and behave like businessmen, considering all parliamentary parties receive state subsidies every year that were unaffected.”
Speaking to Phileleftheros, Akel spokesman Stefanos Stefanou claimed “an issue had been created with the aim of hurting Akel.” The intention was to divert the attention of public opinion away from serious issues, said Stephanou before telling the Phileleftheros journalist, “you have received orders to blacken Akel and to present us as thieves.”