The opposition Jobbik party has criticised recently flagged government measures to expand its family housing subsidy scheme (csok), saying tens of thousands of rich families would benefit from the move, while hundreds of thousands of poor ones would miss out. Referring to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s announcement of the measures on Sunday, Jobbik’s deputy leader accused the government of driving a wedge through society “by benefitting 37,000 people and neglecting several hundred thousand others”. He said the subsidy scheme had no upper limit, and large houses “in the hundred million forint range” could also be built using public money.
Dániel Z. Kárpát told a press conference that the package of measures should have included help for people who rent. He also called for a review of banking practices with the aim of targeting help at troubled mortgage holders rather than providing a subsidy for new borrowers. The announced benefits include exempting women who raise at least four children from personal income tax for life, giving large families 2.5 million forints (EUR 7,860) to buy a large vehicle and a cheap loan of 10 million forints for women under age 40 who marry for the first time, with a sliding scale of repayment depending on how many children she bears.
The opposition Socialists said new family policy measures announced by Orbán would only benefit the wealthy and they constituted a government attempt “to cover up the failure of the slave law”. Referring to recent legislation on overtime, dubbed “slave law”, Socialist lawmaker Lajos Korózs told a press conference that the ruling Fidesz party had come to realise that the law was bad move, leading to the potential loss of some 500,000 voters. So now they are making big promises, Korózs, who is head of parliament’s welfare committee, said. But in reality they won’t help the majority of people, he said.
The Socialist politician insisted that “oligarchs and the wives of the ruling Fidesz elite” would not only be exempt from personal income tax but they would reap even more public money on top of that. The expansion of crèche places to 18,000 and the establishment of crèche in every village throughout Hungary were promises already made in the previous government term, he said. Of 18,000 places, only one thousand places have been created, and it will be impossible to fulfil the new promise to create 70,000 places by 2021, he added.
Meanwhile, Korózs said the planned 10 million forint loan would push people into a debt trap since it would take a family 17 years to pay it back based on monthly instalments of 50,000 forints (EUR 160). Commenting on the expansion of the family housing loan scheme (csok), he said this would actually offer an investment portfolio to high-income people, enabling them to buy a second or third home. Last time the eligibility criteria for csok was expanded, property prices grew drastically, followed by an increase in rents, he added.
Referring to the planned 2.5 million forint subsidy for the purchase of seven-seater vehicles, Korózs said such vehicles cost 11-13 million forints, meaning families would still have to fork out 10 million forints.
In response, the Fidesz parliamentary group said in a statement that the Socialists attacked the government’s family protection action plan while voting in support of migration in the European Parliament.