Austria’s National Council has announced one-off payments which will ease the current cost of living crisis for certain financially vulnerable groups, Der Standard reported.
At the end of April, pensioners on minimum incomes, long-term recipients of sickness and rehabilitation benefits, the unemployed and unemployment assistance recipients will receive €150.
Separately households that receive minimum income or social assistance and students with study grants will receive €300.
For retired people receiving supplementary allowances, there will be two payments of €150.
With the exception of the liberal party Neos, the opposition was largely in favour of the legislative changes
However, parliamentarians from opposition parties said the one-off payments would not be enough to compensate for high inflation, especially as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts further pressure on prices.
SPÖ politician Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek appealed to the government to at least bring forward the payments by a month.
Neos MP Gerald Loacker said that “one-time payments will not help”, as prices will continue to stay high.
The government, however, was eager to highlight the benefits of the package.
For those without jobs, it will be at least a “small compensation” for increasing energy costs, Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP), said.
According to Statistik Austria, inflation rates in Austria reached 5 percent in January 2022, driven by a spike in fuel and household energy prices
This reflects the highest level of inflation since December 1984, Statistik Austria’s head Tobias Thomas told ORF.
Gas prices rose by 41 percent compared to January 2021 and there also steep hikes in the cost of petrol and diesel fuel. Heizöl, which can be used for heating and fuel, saw a 45.8 percent increase over the same period.