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BUSINESS BRIEFS

MPs threaten 2003 budget with spending

THE FINANCE Ministry has warned that increased social spending approved by members of parliament this year is threatening next year's budget, which has only half the money it needs for spending on budget priorities.

While this year the state budget earmarked Sk30 billion of a total Sk258 billion in planned expenditures for highway construction and defence spending, among other priorities, in 2003 only Sk13 will be available.

MPs have agreed this year to increase pensions (by 5 per cent) and basic social support (3.5-3.8 per cent), both of which measures took effect July 1. The legislature has also agreed to up to 15 per cent pay rises for civil servants, and as of July 1 has allowed all parents of children or students up to 25 years to receive state support, regardless of family income.

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