RIGA - The Progressives, a political party not represented in Saeima, has joined the social workers association's calls for Welfare Minister Ramona Petravica (KPV LV) to resign, the party informed LETA.
The Progressives argue that the minister has completely lost the sector's trust as she "neither can nor makes any attempt to protect it from the catastrophic amendments proposed by the Finance Ministry".
"The welfare minister's repeated inability to understand and protect her sector is only the tip of the iceberg. Behind the slogans of social assistance, we see the Finance Ministry's plan the implementation of which will mean that Latvia's least protected and poorest residents will be forced to pay for Petravica's inability to protect the sector from the government's tax optimization battle," said Progressives co-chairperson Antonina Nenaseva.
The Finance Ministry's plan to "turn social workers into tax inspectors is unlawful, incompetent and cynical," the Progressives believe. This decision, the party says, demonstrates the inability of the Finance Ministry and the State Revenue Service to deal with tax optimization and the large companies that force their employees to register as self-employed or micro-enterprises so they can pay less in taxes for them.
"This plan borders with the criminalization of poverty, ignoring at the same time thousands of people whose income may be lower because of family issues, child care, health, career circumstances, personal choice or other reasons," the party says.
The Social Workers Association of Latvia has sent several public officials an open letter urging against turning social workers into tax inspectors and demanding Petravica's resignation.
The association objects to the plan proposed by the Ministries of Finance and Welfare to oblige municipal social workers to assess the income levels of self-employed persons or persons paying the microenterprise tax to determine if their income is low enough to exempt them from paying the mandatory social tax.