The government will launch a special version of its Home Purchase Subsidy Scheme for Families, known by its Hungarian acronym “CSOK”, targeting rural areas on July 1, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told journalists. The government adopted detailed regulations for the scheme at its latest meeting, Gergely Gulyás said. The programme will affect some 2,486 villages and will cover homesteads outside communities, he added. The government expects the scheme to help prevent the emptying of villages. In line with CSOK rules, 600,000 forints (EUR 1,890) support will be available for families with one child, 2.6 million forints for two children and 10 million forints for three children, he said. The money can be used for revamping homes or buying new or second-hand homes but only half of the money can be used for home purchase unless it’s a new home, he added.
The same rules apply as with regular CSOK regarding minimum floor space requirements and the property must not be purchased from close acquaintances or from a company owned by the buyer, he added. The government expects to rely on savings cooperatives as special partners in transferring payments, and banks must not require clients to use additional services as a precondition for transferring CSOK, he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the drought which recently hit farmers, he said the ministry had received 550 claims for compensation from the beginning of the year, covering a total 24,000 hectares affected. The government is also planning assistance to building irrigation systems to make farms less vulnerable to the weather, Gulyás added.
On another subject, he said that in spite of Europe’s “worrying” economic indicators, the foundations of the Hungarian economy were stable, adding that it still had reserves for future growth. The economy is therefore in good enough shape to avert a potential economic crisis, he added.
Gulyás also noted that the government was hard at work on an economic action plan with specific schemes that would help boost household savings.
On the topic of a handball arena to be built in Budapest’s Népliget Park, Gulyás said the state had purchased the plot on which the arena will stand for 42 million euros from a foreign-owned company. Another section of the land will be handed over to the state by the 9th district council, he added.
As regards the reports of abuses in Budapest’s street parking system, Gulyás said the matter was not a Budapest-wide problem. He said the situation was the worst in the 14th district. Developments in the district’s parking system under the mayorship of Párbeszéd’s Gergely Karácsony are “baffling”, he said, adding that an investigative committee should be set up to look into the issue. Asked about hospital debts, Gulyás said 29 hospitals had accumulated most of the sector’s debt. He said the solution required reviewing the financial management of hospitals with a potential solution being the allocation of more state funding.
Asked about next year’s state budget, Gulyás said the finance ministry will submit the draft budget to parliament by May 28. The PM’s Office chief also commented on a Slovak law restricting the singing of foreign national anthems, calling the law “unacceptable”. Gulyás said he considered the law’s enactment a human rights issue, adding that Hungary’s foreign ministry will take legal action regarding the matter. Asked about the potential relocation of the monument to Soviet soldiers who lost their lives liberating Hungary from Budapest’s Szabadság Square, Gulyás said that due to international legal reasons, it could only be relocated with Russia’s consent. In response to another question, he said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will travel to China for bilateral talks later this month.