MSZP leader Bertalan Tóth – Photo:

Socialists make proposals to address cost of living crisis

The Socialist party is holding forums nationwide in the coming weeks to promote its proposals to address the cost of living crisis, party co-leader Bertalan Toth told an online press conference streamed on Facebook on Saturday.

The first and most important one is that “the government should stop profiteering on Hungarian families,” Toth said, referring to rising utility costs. Domestic power production is not influenced by war and inflation, Toth said. The Paks nuclear power plant generates electricity for 12 forints (EUR 0.029)per kW; it should be sold at cost to consumers, he said.

Gas would not have be sold to household consumers at seven times the earlier price either if Viktor Orban and Peter Szijjarto told the truth about the long-term gas supply contract signed with Gazprom, Toth said. They said this contract guaranteed cheap gas in Hungary, he added. If they had told the truth, there would be 4.5 billion cubic metres of cheap gas, which would more than cover the 3.5 million cubic metres of household demand, Toth said.

The Socialists are proposing the introduction of a basic utility service that would provide everyone with access to the gas and electricity necessary for subsistence. The VAT on electricity, gas and household fuel should be reduced from the current 27 percent to 5 percent, Toth said.

“The reason we are in such trouble now is because the government has been neglecting energy efficiency for 12 years,” the MSZP co-leader said. Therefore, the party is proposing a nationwide building insulation programme so that households can reduce their energy expenses. The money the government is spending to buy Vodafone would be enough to give 100,000 households 3.5 million forints in subsidies for improving energy efficiency, he added.

MSZP’s other co-chair, Agnes Kunhalmi, said the crisis was not rooted only in the sanctions and the war, the Hungarian economy was already in trouble earlier as the government deliberately weakened the forint and inflation was already high before the war broke out, she said.

“The social crisis is due to the government’s bad economic policy,” Kunhalmi said.

Kunhalmi called for an agreement with the European Union, which could provide a lot of money, for energy-efficiency upgrades, for example.

She also urged the government to join the global minimum tax, which is 15 percent while capital income in Hungary is taxed at 9 percent. She also called for windfall taxes to be extended to oligarchs. These measures would create revenue to help Hungarian families and create social and energy security, Kunhalmi said.

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