The Lithuanian government proposes to increase the non-taxable income threshold, old-age pensions, social assistance benefits and child allowances, and expand the range of those eligible for compensation for heating costs, in a bid to mitigate the surge in prices.
According to Finance Minister Gintare Skaiste, the total value of the anti-inflationary package stands at more than 2 billion euros, including over 1 billion euros for various social payments to people and businesses to compensate them for the increase in electricity and gas prices, and another 1 billion euros for measures to increase energy independence.
“We want to protect and strengthen people’s purchasing power at this difficult time, when energy prices are rising sharply as a result of Russia’s military aggression and previous deliberate actions, and when the trend for the coming periods is bad as well,” she told a press conference on Friday.
The package earmarks 315.3 million euros to increase people’s incomes, including 106.3 million euros to raise old-age pensions by 5 percent, 103 million euros to increase the income threshold from 460 euros to 540 euros, and 30.3 million euros for higher benefits and compensation for heating costs.
Up to 570 million euros in state budget funds would be spent to partially subsidize electricity and gas prices for households and 120 million euros for businesses. Support to businesses and other affected sectors would amount to 142 million euros.
According to Skaiste, the government aims to keep gas and electricity prices for consumers from rising by more than 40 percent.
In the minister’s words, if the government takes no additional measures, natural gas and electricity prices for household consumers will more than double from July.
“The government proposes certain solutions […] so that prices should rise by no more than 40 percent and that the difference should be subsidized from the state budget,” she said. “The forecast is then that electricity prices could rise by up to 22.9 cents or so, but the prices will still have to be set by the state regulator.”
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