A total of 1,200 beneficiaries of the Minimum Guaranteed Income subsidy were taken off the list in the past two years because they refused an offered job, according to Ministry of Labour data submitted to a parliamentary committee yesterday.
The House Labour Committee also heard that the number of recipients dropped by 40% between 2014 and today. There were 47,000 beneficiaries then and now the number is 22,000. Of these, 8,249 are certified disabled, 5,000 are lowest-level pensioners and 7,500 are aged between 55 and 65 years.
Minister of Labour Zeta Emilianidou told the Committee that beneficiaries are offered a job before their application is considered. And many beneficiaries do choose to join the labour market rather than receive the state subsidy. However, a total of 1,200 were taken off the list over the past two years because they refused to work.
At the same time, the minister did point out that it is very difficult for someone aged between 60 and 65 to get a job. The figures were revealed during a debate on regulations linked with the increase in rent allowance offered to MGI recipients.
The increase is granted so as to balance the rise in rental rates, and the amount is determined following the outcome of a recently-conducted market research study.
Specifically, a rent allowance of €224 increases to €352.80 per month in coastal Limassol. In Nicosia, it rise from €224 to €324,80., in Larnaca from €196 to €280, in Paphos from €140 to € 235,20 and in Famagusta from €224 to €235,20. Since 2014, the state paid a total of €32 million in rent allowances.
Meanwhile, Emilianidou pointed out that many home and apartment owners do not renew existing contracts with MGI recipients in order to find tenants who pay higher rents.