People with disabilities and pensioners deserve a life with dignity
Statements by the General Secretary of AKEL A.Kyprianou
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 4th April 2021, Nicosia
After our meetings we had over the past few days with numerous organizations and associations, it has been confirmed that the social policy implemented in our country is deficient and does not correspond to contemporary needs. It is confirmed that the Anastasiades-DISY government’s one-dimensional approach to social policy cannot meet modern needs.
AKEL reiterates that our country today needs a progressive welfare state, with the elaboration of a comprehensive social policy. This is especially necessary as the danger of socio-economic inequalities growing due to the effects of the pandemic is visible. The implementation of such a plan demands a substantial increase in public spending on social policy.
From the contacts we had, we have noted a number of issues which we believe must be taken into account for social policy measures to be promoted.
First, pensioners today and future generations of pensioners deserve a dignified standard of living. The first priority in achieving this is the abolition of the 12% penalty for those who opt to retire at the age of 63.
Second, ten years after the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Republic of Cyprus, the Convention’s directives have not been implemented in practice, a fact that the UN report itself underlines. In addition, the government isn’t implementing the legislation on the mandatory consultation with the organizations of people with disabilities. The Minimum Guaranteed Income, in the way it is being applied, deprives people with disabilities of the special disability benefit. That is precisely why we insist on the introduction of specialized legislation for people with disabilities, which should determine the socio-economic support that every person is entitled to according to their disability. Finally, we consider it necessary that the state also sets up specialized structures for children with disabilities.
Third, the continuous modernization of the Social Welfare Services so as to make them open, friendly and accessible is demanded and that they will operate in a transparent and direct manner towards citizens and groups in need of support. We believe that this modernization must include, inter alia, the creation of specialized services within them, the operation on a permanent basis of interdepartmental and inter-Ministerial multithematic scientific groups, the decentralization of services in local self-government with the allocation of the necessary financial resources to local authorities, and the formulation of a new relationship between the state and voluntary organizations.