The Facebook page “Jæja” is organising a protest outside Parliament tonight. The event page decries the proposed cuts in disability benefits while fees on fishing companies are reduced. The protest will begin at 16:30 at Austurvöllur Square in front of Parliament. Jæja is page run by social activists that frequently posts articles about social injustice and organise events such as today’s protest.
The proposed budget’s increase in disability pensions is more than a billion less than was agreed upon in the coalition agreement last year. Yesterday during parliamentary debate, Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson stated that pensions for the disabled have increased by 1.1 million ISK a year since 2010. That would bring the total monthly benefit to over 700,000 ISK.
However, according to a statement from the Association of People with Disabilities, the reality is very different. The minority of disabled people that receive the full payment get less than 300,000 ISK before taxes. 71% of recipients get far less.
Purchasing power of the benefits has barely kept up with inflation and the cost of living. The minimum wage for workers is 300,000 ISK. Members of parliament’s purchasing power has increased significantly more, and Bjarni comes from one of the wealthiest families in Iceland.