The Abe government will implement in August a policy to significantly lower the standard to cover life protection service benefits. Thus the government can save the budget by 67 billion Yen in three years. Related bills will be approved May 17 in the cabinet. The decision will rob benefits of children, like one to help schooling and an exemption measure of fee in the nursery schools. The benefits rely on the said standard. It will link to a non-taxable income line of residents' tax. The new policy will bring negative consequences.
POLICY AGGRAVATES LIVING STANDARD OF PEOPLE
The government explains that a reduction for life protection benefits reflects a plunge of consumer prices. Items like electric appliances, including digital TV sets and furniture, have declined. But due to the so-called Abenomics policy, prices of gas, gasoline, toilet rolls and cooking oil have surged. Families of life protection beneficiaries do not enjoy effects of price-down.
Nevertheless, the government has decided to cut benefits by 6.5% on the average. The most affected recipients will lose 10% of the sum. The policy affects 96% of the beneficiary households. The reduction means a drop of living standard not only among the recipients, but also people as a whole. This notion must be shared by the entire society, and we must object the policy.
Taxes and Insurance Premiums Affected, too
Let's look at resident tax exemption. A non-taxable level is set by the standard of life protection service. Therefore, a household of non-taxable income has enjoyed a measure to pay a reduced fee or exemption of payment for children at nursery schools. But such a family may lose the benefit.
The same is true for other premium payments; health insurance, medical insurance for the elderly over 75 years old, elderly care insurance and pensions. A reduced payment or exemption measure will be affected and individual persons will pay more.
Let's look at a case in Narashino City, Chiba Prefecture. As for benefits to help schooling, the city authority employs a norm 1.3 times higher than the state-set level of life protection service. So some households will lose the eligibility for service if the state's level goes down.
Measures differ from one municipality to another. Some adopt an income standard and others use a net income (after necessary costs are deducted). In any way, some families may lose benefits. Improvement steps must be sought.
Vicious Circle to Aggravate Living Standard
A labor law specifies on the minimum wage and it is applied to each of prefectures. It says the minimum wage shall be set in the coordinated manner with relevant measures of the life protection service (Article 9-1, the Minimum Wage Act). Thus the level of minimum wage may be pressured to go down.
Attacks began when an opinion was voiced that 'the life protection service level is higher than the minimum wage, which is unreasonable'. Now, adversely, the life protection service system drops the minimum wage. This policy will draw working population in a vicious circle to worsen living standard. If the minimum wage falls, that will impact on wages in general.
Decision Affects Forty Social Service Systems
Once the life protection service level declines, that will affect other fields, which count almost forty, which include: 1- premium payments of health insurance, in which a reduction or exemption will be cancelled, 2- benefits will be lost for Japanese citizens who returned from China where they had been abandoned after WWII and 3- subsidies to orphanages and nursery schools will be cut.
The policy to pull down the level for life protection service will worsen living standard of people in general. Let's wage struggles of objection!
May 21, 2013