The government agreed to increase the public sector's salary fund by 5 percent during state budget negotiations, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) said on Wednesday. Exactly how much teachers, policemen and rescuers' salaries will rise by is yet to be decided.
"The Ministry of Finance always wants to save, which is understandable, to always move towards having a budget balance. As we know, we're not there yet. We have had to make a lot of emergency expenses," Aab said.
"Our view in the Center Party faction has been that some necessary expenses and rises need to be implemented and some things need to be decreased or removed. Our priority is not increasing the excise duties regarding which, our coalition partner [Reform] thought about a little and agreed," Aab said.
Aab said excise duty will not increase all at once after 2023, but gradually.
Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) said: "What's important is that we don't have to in the same situation in May 2023 as we currently are where there is a sudden increase in excise duties, but the increase will happen gradually."
Aab said the same groups that were highlighted in the state budget negotiations in spring can count on a salary raise.
"How much the salaries for teachers, social workers, police, rescuers, culture worker, will exactly increase, will be decided by the corresponding ministries. When in spring the increase was 3 percent, then we added two," Aab said.
"The whole salary fund will be increased by 5 percent, but within it, ministries can make their own decisions. I really hope that rescuers' salaries will increase more than 5 percent," Aab said.
Next year, support for old-age pensioners living alone will increase. Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said the proposal is to increase this support to €200. It is currently €115. This will be a one-off grant each year.
The old-age pension will increase by €38 next year through indexation.
"But by 2023, we have agreed with the coalition partner on two fundamental changes: an extraordinary pension increase and making the average pension tax-free," Kiik said.
Ministries still need to make cuts
Pentus-Rosimannus said the priorities for next year are education and research.
Next year's state budget must take into account the effects of the coronavirus crisis and it will also cost money.
"The austerity tasks that the members of the government took on in the spring are being fulfilled. The reliefs came in the most sensitive areas, internal security and also in the social field, where the austerity task that the ministers took on was eased," Pentus-Rosimannus said.
Editor: Roberta Vaino