The government has diverted resources so that the 2021 budget could be focused on combatting the coronavirus epidemic and protecting the economy, Finance Minister Mihály Varga told pro-govt public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió on Sunday.
The government’s established practice of preparing and submitting the budget bill to parliament in the spring provides a degree of predictability to market players, households and families that needed to be maintained even during the epidemic, Varga said.
A budget submitted in the autumn would only have been a little more precise, but this way everyone has more than six months to adapt to it, he added.
The experiences of the past years have vindicated the government’s expectations and the ministry’s method of preparing the budget, he said.
The minister said that though Hungary’s economy and the government’s economic policy had to adapt to the threat posed by the epidemic, this did not mean that it would be the sole focus of next year’s budget.
Job creation remains one of the top priorities and the government aims to continue reducing the public debt, Varga said, underlining the importance of a stable fiscal policy, supporting families and couples who have children, protecting pensioners and guaranteeing the real value of pensions.
The 2021 budget rests on two pillars, Varga said. One is a 3,000 billion forint (EUR 8.7bn) health-insurance and epidemic response fund and the other an economy protection fund worth 2,550 billion forints. The budget also allocates a total of 270 billion forints for contingency measures, he added.
The bill earmarks an extra 156 billion forints for health care and an additional 78 billion for education compared with this year, the minister said.
Border protection also remains an important aspect, with 704 billion forints earmarked for defence and an extra 154 billion forints allocated for the police forces and public safety spending, he said.
featured image via Boglárka Bodnár/MTI