Big budget bag brought to Saeima on Thursday

On February 9, the Finance Minister Arvils Ašeradens (New Unity) delivered a portfolio with this year's draft state budget to the Saeima, as is traditional.

Several protesters met the Minister at the Saeima, calling for a larger budget share to be devoted to the treatment of oncology patients.

Interestingly, Ašeradens opted for a return to the battered old leather briefcase of many budgets past rather than the futuristic designer attache case favored more recently.

Before delivering the budget to the Saeima, Ašeradens acknowledged in an interview on Latvian Television that health care and welfare are not adequately funded in this year's budget if compared with other European countries. 

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Minister for Health Līga Meņģelsone (delegated from the United List) stated that the healthcare budget planned for this year is €1.6 billion, of which €85.6 million will be additional funding. The Minister said that this does not cover all the needs of the sector.

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In previous years “member quotas” or funds allocated to budget projects, which can be distributed at the discretion of Members, were often a buzz topic around the state budget. This time, the Minister for Finance does not see the need for such quotas and pointed out that the draft budget prepared by the Cabinet does not foresee quotas. Members may decide on changes to the budget, but in such cases funding should be transferred from another position.

The government supported the draft law for the State budget for 2023 and budget framework for 2023, 2024 and 2025 on Tuesday, February 7.

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