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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 22.04.2024, 02:27

Raising the subsistence benefits in Estonia is an absolute necessity

Juhan Tere, BC, Tallinn, 27.01.2012.Print version
As more than a fifth of Estonian residence lives below poverty line and too many people are at risk of poverty, a swift increase in subsistence benefits could improve the situation that has developed, writes LETA/Postimees Online.

Organisations that are united through the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) urged the Government and Riigikogu to raise the subsistence minimum, if possible, in 2012 supplementary State budget already as the first measure for relieving poverty in connection with the fast growth in food prices.

“Growing prices of foodstuffs and other goods have had a negative impact on the welfare of very many Estonian residents,” stated EAPN. In the context of insufficient subsistence benefits, people who earn the smallest wages suffer the most due to price growth as their income often fails to cover even minimum spending on food, not to mention other minimal consumer habits.

“Such a situation is not morally acceptable and is clearly in violation with the law,” state the authors of the petition. The Government and the Parliament also have to take into account the fact that many families and individuals have had to life off subsistence benefits for quite a long time already due to the unemployment situation caused by the economic crisis.

In the 2012 State budget, the subsistence minimum was not changed. According to the Statistics Board, the consumer price index grew by five per cent in 2011 in comparison with the year before; prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages grew by an average of nearly 10%.

EANP-s petition was supported by the Estonian Society of Women with disabilities, the Estonian Food Bank, Estonian Society of Rehabilitation of Addicts, the Nõmme Union for Child Welfare, the Tallinn Social Work Centre, the Estonian Academic Society of Social Security, the Estonian Social Work Association, the Union for Child Welfare, the Dharma Foundation and the Sillamäe Society of Child Welfare.

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