For the first time in a long time, Corona is no longer likely to dominate the coming year. Instead, the focus will be on inflation in the face of multiple crises, so 2023 will bring higher energy prices and high salary and pension increases due to inflation. What is new is the automatic annual adjustment of social benefits and climate protection will make driving more expensive. More plastic waste will be collected, and animal welfare in agriculture will become stricter.
According to the economic research institute WIFO, inflation will be around 6.5 percent next year. Salary increases will be correspondingly high, whether in the public sector, trade, metalworkers or railroads. Pension increases will be between 5.8 and 10.2 percent. In the case of social benefits, the previous annual loss in value will no longer apply, as they will be automatically valorized from next year. This applies, for example, to health and childcare benefits but also family allowances.
In the area of care, there will be a bonus for family caregivers, an increase in the value of night work for employees and the sixth week of vacation from the age of 43. Severe mental or psychological disabilities will be considered more in care allowances. In the area of health, free HPV vaccinations for children up to the age of 21 will be introduced, and flu vaccinations will only cost the prescription fee from the fall. In the justice system, there are promises of better handling of mentally ill offenders.
In the education sector, 2023 will bring a new type of school in the form of nursing schools. Linz will be home to a new university, the Institute of Digital Sciences Austria. In animal husbandry, fully slatted floors will no longer be permitted in pig farming from 2023, but only in new buildings and conversions. On the other hand, existing facilities can continue to operate until 2039. The shredding of live chicks will be banned.
The rising CO2 price from 30 to 32.50 euros per metric ton will make fuel more expensive (approximately 0.7 cents per litre of gasoline, 0.8 cents per litre of diesel). Electric cars, on the other hand, will see further reductions. More money will also be pumped into the railroads, the climate ticket and the expansion of public transportation in general, and into climate-friendly heating systems. Throughout Austria, the plastic collection will be expanded to include lightweight packaging.
Electricity and gas will become more expensive, also for existing customers of the energy suppliers. This will be compensated for by the federal government’s electricity price brake until June 2024.
Travellers can rejoice at the admission of Croatia, a popular vacation destination, to the Schengen Area – in contrast to Romania and Bulgaria, where Austria’s veto puts the brakes on. Croatia will also become a member of the eurozone.
Politically, the new year will see the National Council and the Federal Council move back to the renovated parliament building on the Ring. In January, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen will be re-elected and re-commissioned. Elections to the provincial parliaments of Lower Austria, Carinthia and Salzburg, are scheduled, as are elections to the university student body.
- source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com
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