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Latvian Welfare Ministry plans to introduce two new benefits

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Ilze Vinkele

Even though Latvian Association of Local Governments (LALG) called Welfare Ministry’s new benefit reform concept «very immature and controversial», saying that reforms should not be rushed, Welfare Minister Ilze Vinkele is full of confidence to work hard, so that the most important reforms would be carried out in the beginning of 2013.

Even now, the WM is developing two new types of benefits – transport and relocation benefits, which the institution plans on introducing in 2013, Diena reports.

«If a person lives in a region that is economically undeveloped, but the person is highly motivated and is ready to work hard to improve his/her quality of life, the possibility of this person relocating to a more active economic region is a favourable option,»- Vinkele said on the air of Krustpunktā program of Latvian Radio on Wednesday, July 4. This relocation benefit would be funded by the state budget. «If a person from Ciblas Parish would want to relocate to Melluzi, Jurmala – the state would, most likely, not agree to that,»- the minister said.

When evaluating the reform concept project of the WM, LALG admits – the social support system cannot be made more targeted and of better quality, if the proportions between the sizes of minimum wages and social support are not properly organized. I.e., a number of local governments have admitted that the minimal wage is often equal to social benefits, so there is a lack of motivation to work. Vinkele is against increasing minimum wages in 2013 because, according to her, right now, an increase of minimum wages would mean and administrative act, which is not covered by fairly produced benefits. The question, asked by Diena, on how to organize proportions between the current amounts of minimum wage and social benefits, the minister mentioned one possible solution – it would be practical to pay benefits to transports, so that people would be able to effectively travel to qualification courses to be able to compete on even ground on the job market. But who would fund this benefit – is a topic for discussions.

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