Welfare state spending in Cyprus spiked to €513 million in the first four months of 2020 as the state launched support programmes to safeguard employment amid the coronavirus outbreak.
According to data published by the Treasury, welfare spending for the period of January – April 2020 amounted to €513.6 million marking a steep increase of 108% compared to €246.9 million in the respective period last year. Welfare spending peaked in April to €169 million compared to €70 million in April 2019. The increase in welfare spending is associated mainly with the Covid-19 outbreak and the payments for the National Health Scheme.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Labour ranked first, concerning spending among central government services and departments with expenditure amounting to €153 million in April. For the period of January – April 2019 the Ministry’s expenditure reached €407 million compared with €330 million in the respective period of last year, data by the treasury show.
Minister of Labour Zeta Emilianidou has told the Parliament that the Ministry paid €219 million from mid-March to mid-May in various schemes to safeguard employment due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Furthermore, the central government budget (excluding state-owned enterprises and local authorities) generated a deficit of €294 million for the period of January – April 2019, compared with a surplus of €283 million in the same period of 2019, due to lockdown measures, increased spending and taxation deferrals.
State revenue declined by an annual 13.5% in January – April 2020, while state expenditure rose by 16.5% in the first four months of 2020, according to the state treasury.