Thousands of low-income pensioners struggling to make ends meet will see a rise by 5% in their monthly cheques before the year’s end, new Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou told state radio on Thursday.
The much-needed pension rise was a pre-election campaign promise by the island’s new President Nikos Christodoulides.
Panayiotou made clear the increase will be effective as from this year, adding that the additional expenditure will be included in a supplementary budget of the new government. This is to be submitted before Parliament in June.
Philenews reports that the 5% increase will apply to those pensioners currently supported by the Ministry of Welfare’s Low Pensioners Support Scheme, that is, those receiving the small cheque.
In theory, a 5% increase would raise the minimum amount of €710 currently guaranteed by the Low Pensioner Support Scheme to €745.50.
Panayiotou also said he is already in contact with new Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Marilena Evangelou, on this humanitarian issue.
Panayiotou added that the 5% increase in low pensions is among the priorities of the new government, but also noted that this is not related to the intended reform of the pension system at large.
A preliminary study by the International Labour Office is in the hands of the Ministry of Labour which is waiting for the positions of the social partners to be submitted before they take the next step.