President János Áder has sent back to Parliament for review a law aimed at establishing subsidised home building societies. Lawmakers had passed the legislation submitted by Antal Rogán, the prime minister’s cabinet chief, two weeks earlier.
Under the law, members of home building societies would make regular contributions to the organisation, and receive a 30 percent match from the central budget up to 25,000 forints a month. After saving enough to make a 20 percent down payment, members would be selected through a bidding process, or based on the size of their contributions, or a lottery, if contributions match, to get an interest-free home loan.
Áder said he supported the concept of expanding opportunities for families to build homes with state subsidy, but for the operation of such schemes a body operating transparently must be created with appropriate oversight. He said provisions in the recent law fail to clearly establish the legal status, structural rules and operation of the home building societies.
Bence Tuzson, the state secretary of government communication, said the government would respect Áder’s decision. Simultaneously, Tuzson asked Parliament to revisit the bill quickly and approve the law without delay. He said most of Áder’s concerns could be remedied by way of government decrees.
Tuzson reiterated the government’s goal to enable every Hungarian family to get a home as soon as possible, and home building societies would be an instrument for this. In addition to the family home allowance “Csok” and VAT allowances, there should be an opportunity outside the banking sector to accumulate savings coupled with a significant state subsidy of up to 3 million forints in 10 years, Tuzson said, adding that the three different allowances could be combined.
Parliament’s legislative committee will review the law possibly almost straight away, the head of the committee told state news agency MTI. “We respect the president’s opinion and will consider his recommendations,” Gergely Gulyás, a lawmaker for ruling Fidesz, said. Under house rules legislation returned by the president is to be reviewed by the legislative committee which puts forward an amended legislation for Parliament for a vote.
The opposition Socialists said they agreed with the president’s concerns. The party wants to ensure that the legislation “is not tailored to suit the interests of a particular group of business players”, lawmaker Gergely Bárándy, deputy head of the legislative committee, said.
In reaction to Bárándy’s remarks, the government information office said the government will stand by its plan to set up building societies, while respecting Áder’s decision. It added that the building societies would enable members to receive four times more state support and interest-free loans than before. The Socialists’ statement shows that the party does not support efforts to help Hungarian families get homes at lower costs and safely, the government information office said.