The opposition Socialist party will submit a proposal to parliament on handling the social and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the leader of the party said. Bertalan Tóth told an online press conference that the government had failed to avoid a social crisis, as 400,000 people were now out of work and 200,000 families had been left without unemployment benefits. The government’s “success propaganda” is belied by economic indicators such as declining GDP, rising prices, and upticks in the budget deficit and state debt, he said. The Socialists want the government to raise the sum and duration of unemployment benefits, and to expand the wage supplement scheme to cover up to 80% of employees’ wages. They would also double the family allowance, raise pensions by 6.5% and increase the support in utility fees for small private customers. The Socialists support other opposition Párbeszéd’s call for the state to make coronavirus tests free of charge as many families cannot afford to pay for them to avoid quarantine, Tóth said. The party has also launched a charity aimed to collect 10 million forints (EUR 28,000) to help families at the start of the school year, he said.
Tóth said the government was “generous with its own oligarchs” but tight-fisted with Hungarians. “While friends and family [close to ruling Fidesz] were paid”, Hungarian people are lacking appropriate care, he said.
Socialist deputy leader Imre Komjáthi told the same press conference the government had “left Hungarian jobholders by the wayside” by spending more on “propaganda, national consultation and billboard campaigns” than on saving jobs. He called on the government to start consultations with employers’ bodies and trade unions.