The social welfare budget for 2023 amounts to €620.5 million, marking a €4.6 million increase from the previous year, deputy minister of social welfare Anastasia Anthousi said on Friday.
Presenting the budget to the House finance committee, she explained that 87.3 per cent of the budget was going towards benefits.
Anthousi pointed out a €15m cut in the budget where the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) was concerned, which she attributed to a decrease in unemployment.
“These funds have been transferred to other actions, such as subsidising day care centres.”
The service managing welfare allowances has absorbed 76 per cent – €334m of the budget and social welfare service 70 per cent, amounting to €70.5m.
A core part of the ministry’s efforts lie in strengthening Cyprus as a welfare state and support for vulnerable citizens, Anthousi said. To this end, all services aimed at helping members of the public will be integrated and fall under one umbrella on January 1, 2023.
Some of the strategies the ministry has is modernising its organisation, methods and principles, as well as improving its efficiency, she said. E-governing will form a core part of this development, Anthousi told deputies.
By 2025, the budget is expected to reach €631.5m, she added.
Reacting to the presentation, while Disy’s deputy Onoufrios Koullas heralded the figures, Akel’s Andreas Kafkalias accused the government of refusing to discuss increasing the GMI.
Edek’s Andreas Apostolou said it was a positive development that the government was willing to discuss the issue of covering the cost non-medical expenses for relatives traveling with patients which required medical care abroad, when it concerned families with three or four children.