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Deputy Mayor: Budapest readies for ‘survival’ in face of big deficit

The Budapest administration is preparing a "survival programme" ahead of an anticipated budget shortfall of 76 billion forints (EUR 202m) by August.

Red lines defined by the city’s mayor are preserving the current level of public services and paying the wages of 27,000 employees of the capital’s companies and institutions, Ambrus Kiss, one of the city’s deputy mayors, told a press conference on Thursday.

Budapesters “must be protected” from the crisis, he said, adding that “the government … does not want to help”.

Decisions made under survival plan will be made at the city assembly meeting later this month, he said.

Even though Budapest contributes 36-38 percent to the country’s economy, the government has shown no willingness to resolve the situation, Kiss said. “If Budapest’s economy falters because public services cannot function” the prospect of the economy narrowing the gap with the European average would be compromised, he said.

On January 1, 2020, the capital’s balance sheet was 186.2 billion forints in the black, while on the same day this year the surplus was just 10.1 billion, he said, accusing the central government of being largely responsible by changing the business tax which reduced the capital’s revenues by 40 billion forints in 2020 and by another 40 billion forints in 2021 and 2022.

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