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Govt Austerity Package: EUR 690M Cuts in Investments, Welfare (III)

Ljubljana, 23 March (STA) - The third set of austerity measures proposed by the government on Friday as guidelines for talks with social partners involves cuts of EUR 296m this year and EUR 391m in 2013 as part of what is dubbed $adjustments of programmes and policies$.

Over EUR 150m in savings this year and next are to be achieved by reducing investments, subsidies and aid to troubled companies.

An extra EUR 5m would be squeezed by granting state aid only for job preservation, not training and education.

Social security transfers face cuts of EUR 71.6m this year and EUR 104.6m in 2013.

The bulk of the savings, EUR 60.5m annually, is to be achieved with lower recreational allowance, a kind of holiday allowance for pensioners.

Some EUR 43.4m over two years is expected through lower parental leave benefits, which would be cut from 100% of pay over nine months to 90% in the first six months and 80% in the last three months.

Under existing law families with more than one child in kindergarten had to pay for only one (a measure introduced by the previous cabinet of Prime Minister Janez Janša), but this will be abolished now; savings are estimated at EUR 26.8m over two years.

Almost EUR 24m over two years would be saved by eliminating across-the-board lunch subsidies for students and keeping them for only the poorest.

State coverage of supplementary health insurance for war veterans will be curbed, saving EUR 12.5m annually, while lower child benefits are projected to save EUR 22.9m over two years.

The government also wants to cut unemployment benefits from 80% of pay to 70% in the first two months of unemployment and 60% thereafter, saving almost EUR 12m this year and EUR 17.7m in 2013.

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