Budget up for welfare, job creation next year

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Budget up for welfare, job creation next year

The government and ruling Saenuri Party announced Thursday that they will expand spending on social welfare programs and job creation for the young and unemployed in next year’s budget.

The decision came after a meeting between officials in the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and other organizations, including Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan, and lawmakers like Rep. Won Yoo-chul, the Saenuri Party floor leader, held at the National Assembly.

“Regarding the direction of the 2016 budget spending, the government and ruling party decided to prioritize the protection of underprivileged classes, such as small-size enterprisers, women, handicapped and low-income households,” Rep. Won said Thursday at a meeting with party members following the meeting with government officials. “We will largely expand the spending on health, social welfare and employment.

“Additionally, the ruling party called upon the government for a sharp increase in spending on reforms for the labor market, such as the adoption of the peak salary system, so that people can feel the policy’s effect,” he said.

“The party also demanded additional spending to support people struggling with the depressed economy.”

He added that the budget for creating a more fertile environment for start-ups and supporting Korean exporters will be also increased.

Kim Sung-tae, another Saenuri Party lawmaker who attended the closed-door meeting with officials, also told reporters afterwards that the government was a bit “conservative” in forecasting Korea’s economic growth for next year.

“The government showed a conservative outlook for the next year’s economic growth to resolve the repeated deficit in tax revenue,” Kim said.

“Expressing concerns over the forecast, our party called for an expansionary policy.”

The ruling party will also persuade the government to cut electricity bills for vendors at traditional Korean markets as well as expand spending on social infrastructure projects, he said.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [kim.heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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