The Center Party is after a one-off benefit of €100 for children and elderly in Estonia's supplementary state budget. Its coalition partner Reform agrees to half the sum and wants to aim a part of support at those most in need.
The Center Party has proposed including in the supplementary budget €60 million worth of single allowance for children and elderly. The Reform Party has proposed a compromise of €30 million, Center whip Jaanus Karilaid told ERR.
"This is the point of contention – the Reform Party claims that it (benefit) should not be universal and cost less. We will continue these deliberations on Monday, and it is too soon to say where we will end up. The confrontation is sharp. We believe that a single allowance of €100 would be minimally needed," Karilaid said, describing Reform's counterproposal of €30 million as clearly too little.
Center finds that the allowance should be paid out in October, while the money would have to be found in the current supplementary budget.
"Provided we can agree on a single benefit, it could reach people in October. Fall will likely be the toughest time. We need to look a few steps ahead and offer people support," Karilaid said.
The Reform Party believes the agreement should be postponed as late summer, early fall can provide more clarity in terms of the depth of the crisis, Karilaid said. "We believe the supplementary budget should treat with these things today," he said.
Reform has also proposed the child benefit measure to be targeted rather than universal. Karilaid said this would only add to red tape and end up costing more.
The Center whip said that the party is willing to back down on single allowance if the coalition partner agrees to hike regular child benefits and tie them to average salary. "This would cost in excess of €250 million," he added.
Editor: Marcus Turovski