Czech gov. approves amendment for increase in housing benefits, due to high engergy prices

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2022-01-05   18:45

Housing allowances could increase due to higher energy prices for this year. More people could also reach the dose. The government has approved a draft amendment that raises the amounts for calculating the aid. The cabinet could also decide on a further increase if prices continue to rise. This was stated by Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) at a press conference after today's government meeting. The government sends the draft to the Chamber of Deputies, and would like to discuss it expeditiously in a legislative emergency. The Five Coalition has a majority of 108 votes in the lower house.

"We have decided to increase the housing allowance accordingly and expand it to reach more people. In the event of dramatic fluctuations in the energy market, the government will be able to increase standards," said Fiala.

According to the amendment, the so-called normative costs, from which the housing allowance is calculated, could rise once by approximately CZK 1,100 to CZK 2,100, depending on the number of households and the type of housing. Subtenants could now also receive support. According to the Ministry of Labor, about 2.6 to three billion crowns would be needed this year for higher benefits for more people.

Homeowners or permanently registered tenants are entitled to a housing allowance, for whom 35 percent of income in Prague and 30 percent elsewhere are not enough to pay for adequate housing. The benefit corresponds to the difference between the expenses up to the normative costs and 0.3 times or 0.35 times the income. The norm ranges from CZK 5,000 to CZK 12,200 in cooperative and own flats, depending on the number of household members. The rent is from about CZK 5600 to CZK 20.500, the size of the city also plays a role. The amendment increases the amounts for this year. For people who live alone in rent or sublease, the norm should be raised by another CZK 1120. In your own or cooperative apartment, it would be about CZK 1,180. According to the amendment, the norm should be adjusted by CZK 1,130 in the rent, and by CZK 1,219 in the own and cooperative flat. For three people, the amounts for calculating benefits would increase by CZK 1,607 and CZK 1,733, for four or more people by CZK 1,974 and CZK 2,147.

Subtenants could now also receive support as tenants. The contribution as owners could then be made, for example, by seniors who transferred the apartment to their descendants, but continue to live in it. It concerns living according to the so-called servitude. The government could adjust the standards for this year in the event of further price increases if the estimated average energy costs change "significantly" compared to last year. The proposed law does not specify how much they would have to increase. The estimate would be submitted by the Ministry of Industry with the Energy Regulatory Office if the cabinet instructed it to do so.

The Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) expects that the amendment could be approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate by the end of the month. The standard should then apply retroactively for the period from 1 January. According to the head of the resort, this help should be sufficient. "In the next three weeks, we will intensively distribute all the information to the people we assume are in that complicated situation," said Jurečka. He did not specify what informing the needy should look like.

According to the Ministry of Labor, a one-off increase in norms could increase spending on the contribution by CZK 1.3 billion this year. Another CZK 840 million to CZK 1.26 billion would require benefits for subtenants. There could be 20,000 to 30,000 of these applicants. About 10,000 beneficiaries could apply for support "due to servitude", the expenditure would be at least CZK 420 million. Support due to price increases would thus cost about CZK 2.56 to CZK 2.98 billion. The current increase in standards for this year will require CZK 381.4 million.

Labor offices paid 126,600 housing allowances last November. In 11 months, expenditures amounted to six billion crowns.

Source: CTK