While there will be no increase in the price of household gas, about 800,000 people will pay more after 1 July, when subsidies come to an end.
“Due to the moratorium introduced by the new cabinet, the price of gas will not increase for end users”, the National Development Ministry said in its defence after press reports revealed that the withdrawal of the subsidy will increase the price of gas by as much as 20% and the price of district heating for the 570,000 consumers living on less than HUF 57,000 or EUR 203 per capita per month.
“A decision made by the previous government will end the subsidy system, but the ministry is working on a new, fairer system to be introduced in time for the autumn heating season”, read the statement, but the cabinet press secretary declined to elaborate on what the new system will look like.
At the peak of the economic crisis last spring, the Bajnai cabinet began reducing gas subsidies and moved to entirely abolish the system supporting around 800,000 people by 1 July, 2010. Economists warn that the lack of a subsidy system could put an unbearable burden on low-income workers living in centrally heated flats; with a sharp increase in the number of people incapable of paying their bills. On average, the owner of a 52 square metre flat could see their bill monthly increase the bill from HUF 10,000 (EUR 35) to HUF 22,000 (EUR 78).