Three new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) are now available and provide information on the increase in the minimum wage by the new government in Luxembourg, the effort to lower the cost of public transport for users in Portugal, and social assistance programmes recently introduced in Turkey.
An important reform included in the programme of the new (December 2018) government in Luxembourg was the increase in the minimum wage of €100 net per month. The government has very recently unveiled its plans as to how this will be implemented and financed. One third of the increase will be borne by employers and two thirds by the state mostly through a tax relief.
The programme supporting price cuts for public transport in Portugal has just come into force on 1 April 2019. This is an important measure in a country characterised by low salaries and high (in-work) poverty rates and where no in-work benefits are in place. However, as the programme does not cover the entire territory, it must address possible geographical inequalities arising from its implementation.
The Turkish Lira depreciated sharply in 2018. This led to an increase in inflation, with food prices hitting the roof—a serious concern for the poor. Facing a shrinking economy and increasing unemployment, the government introduced new social assistance programmes and set up sale points where selected food items are sold at below cost. The fact that these programmes were launched on the eve of the local elections could be interpreted as short-term political manoeuvres.