Yanukovych outlines four areas of social reforms in Ukraine

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March 7, 2012, 11:38 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has outlined four key strategic areas of social reform, describing them as new social initiatives. "We must restore public confidence in state policies aimed at improving the lives of citizens. We need to restore the fundamental principle of social justice, eliminating benefits for those who do not need them," he said at an extended meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday dedicated to the new social initiatives of the authorities.

In addition, Yanukovych said that it was important to comprehensively change approaches to the payment of salaries and social insurance taxes. In this regard, he stressed the importance of introducing a luxury tax.

Yanukovych said that the next step in social reforms should be deep modernization in the sphere of social welfare, in particular, the transition from "unsystematic payments" to the targeted assistance and social services. He said that health care and education should be accessible to citizens.

He said that the fourth area of social reform was the promotion of effective employment and the creation of new jobs. Yanukovych said that the new social initiatives were a signal that reforms that have been conducted in the country for two years are producing a real result.

Yanukovych also said that such initiatives would help overcome social stratification in Ukraine, the level of which is the highest in Europe, and restore social justice.

The president added that despite the economic crisis, he would demand that the government consistently increase salaries to public sector employees, pensions, and maternity benefits.

Yanukovych said that a task for the authorities on the introduction of new social policies was "to publicly assume commitments to substantially improve social standards."
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