Responsible support. Social policy in the era of inflation

31st Economic Forum Expert features

Firstly the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine – Today, the entire Europe has been struggling with growing inflation. In this context, how should social policy look like? – In difficult times, we – as the government – should in particular care for the situation of the citizens, families and the seniors – says the Polish Minister of Family and Social Policy Marlena Maląg.

After two years of COVID pandemic, we have all hoped for catching a breath and finally finding some piece. We expected the recovery of national economies after the period of stagnation. And in this very moment the outbreak of war in Ukraine has rapidly shattered our hopes.

One of the effects of the Russian aggression, faced today by the entire Europe, is the inflation. This is the price we pay for cutting off the Russian resources and the sanctions imposed on the aggressor. The price is paid by all of us without exception.

Support or not to support – this is the question

“The social programmes should be suspended, the financial transfer only contribute to higher inflation” – such voices have been heard in the media discussions. Does this mean that the price for the objection to the Russian activities, which translates into higher prices, should be paid only by the citizens? The families, the seniors and less wealthy?

The role of the government is to take care of the citizens. This is why the Polish Government of the Law and Justice launched the Anti-Inflation Shield, shield allowance, comprehensive support package for the heat recipients and tax reduction. And that’s not all.

Additional benefit for millions of pensioners

This is why we decided to pay the 14th pension being a subsequent additional benefit for the pensioners in this year. The reason behind doing so is our will to secure the financial condition of the senior citizens – in particular these with lower benefits. This is already happening. The money is reaching the pensioners at this very moment – in September. The total amount is 11.4 billion zlotys for 9 million of people.

Taking the 13th pension paid on annual basis, we provide 24.5 billion zlotys of the additional – let me stress – additional support for millions of Polish pensioners.

Some say that this support is provided at the expense of the others, who can do better. In this context, we should put particular attention to the social and intergenerational solidarity. That’s true that the inflation affects everyone – but an older person with low pension faces greater difficulties in struggling with price increase than people active on the labour market. I hope that we all understand

The pandemic demonstrated the importance of social programmes

The period of pandemic has shown us that the social programmes should be implemented in particular in difficult times, acting as a specific safety buffer for the families and the seniors. The State should guarantee support to the citizens in the era of crisis.

This is why we do not withdraw from any of the existing programmes. This is why we launch additional support schemes. The priority of the Polish Government is the Poles, Polish families and Polish seniors.