TALLINN - According to a new macroeconomic study by PwC, Estonia’s strengths are its low level of corruption, a simple tax system and a high activity level among the population, reports Postimees. The survey summarized developments in the Central and Eastern European countries over the past seven years.
The report does not place Estonia in the top three of the so-called new European countries in terms of GDP per capita or economic growth.
Similarly predictable was Estonia’s leading position in terms of simplicity and user friendliness of the taxation system and in terms of Internet use. A positive surprise, however, was the fact that the level of corruption in Estonia was much lower than in other countries – in Estonia the corruption level is comparable to Western Europe’s average.
Estonia is also ahead of other CEE countries in terms of the adult population’s participation in life-long learning.
Despite the success in Estonia’s economic development, all have not fully benefited from the rising wealth. In August, a total of 312,283 euros were paid in subsistence benefits in Tallinn. In August 2010, this amount was 269,025 euros, while a year before this amount was only 30,567 euros.
Despite the significant decline in the number of unemployed persons, the number of families, family members and children who live off subsistence benefits is growing in Tallinn. This number continues growing in the Lasnamae, Mustamae, Nomme and north Tallinn districts while the situation in the center of Tallinn has stabilized and improved in the city districts of Kristiine and Pirita.
According to the Tallinn city districts, there were a total of 2,126 families in Tallinn in August that received subsistence benefits.
The number of unemployed persons who live off subsistence benefits has fallen significantly – while in August 2010, this number was 2,163; this year it was only 256. This trend has probably been caused by the seasonal jobs available during the summertime.
“This indicator could be something to rejoice over, if the number of children living off subsistence benefits were not still growing in the city,” said Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Merike Martinson. According to her, in August 2011, there were 946 children in Tallinn who lived off subsistence benefits while a year ago this number was 825.
The Tallinn City government stated that it was concerned over the low-income individuals’ difficulties in coping financially and, thus, proposed that the government raise the subsistence level by at least 20 percent in the State budget for the year 2012. The letter with the proposal was sent to Minister of Finance Jurgen Ligi.