Social benefit payments to rise in 2016, says Emilianidou
Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said that the social expenditure in the 2016 budget of her Ministry marked an increase.
Speaking in a joint Parliamentary Finance and Budget Committee hearing, Emilianidou said that from the total of EUR 954.2 mn, which is the budget of the Ministry, the EUR 892.2 mln or 94% concern social benefits, including the Guaranteed Minimum Income benefit for low-income households, pensioners and child benefits.
The Minister said that today, 13,000 families who did not receive any support from the state, receive the GMI, at a total cost of EUR 4.5 mln.
She noted that the government has set as a strategic goal, besides tackling of unemployment, to reform the welfare system.
The first phase of the reform of the social welfare system, which was the approval of the beneficiaries, is completed and the Ministry is proceeding to the second phase which is to provide care to those in need. She added that the Ministry will also proceed with the phase of activating the unemployed persons by implementing projects market.
An amount of EUR 27 mln that is not included in her Ministry’s budget but in the budget of the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development concerns the implementation of projects of hiring unemployed persons.
At the same time, she said that the Government offers more benefits to vulnerable group of people, such as the reduction of the cost of electricity by 20%.
As regards unemployment, Emilianidou said that in 2013, when the current government took over, the registered unemployed persons were 46,000, noting that the rate has stabilised.
In particular, she said that in September 2015 a decrease of 10.8% was recorded compared to the same month in 2014.
Today, the registered unemployed are 41,723 and the unemployment rate is 14.7% compared to 15.4% in 2014. At the same time there was an increase in the employment rate of 0.3%, she added.