Czech towns want government to solve social problems


21.08.2014 16:39

Prague - The Czech Union of Towns and Municipalities (SMO) today launched a petition campaign aimed to make the government and parliament take prompt measures to improve order and social situation in towns, SMO representatives told journalists today.


Ilustrační foto - Ministr životního prostředí Tomáš Chalupa (ODS) navštívil 3. března 2011 Kladno. V areálu bývalých hutí Poldi se seznámil se záměrem sanace území a výstavbou nízkoenergetických domů. Na snímku jsou (zprava) bezodomec s dvoukolákem vezoucí železný šrot, primátor Kladna Dan Jiránek, radní Radek Větrovec, první náměstek primátora Miroslav Bernášek a ministr Tomáš Chalupa. ČTK Zbyněk Stanislav, ČTK

The petitioners demand the introduction of a central registry of offences, reintroduction of the previously applied practice of "public service" for the unemployed and a ban on scrap metal collection from individuals except for businesspeople.

The petition campaign will run through October 10. Afterwards, the SMO, which represents over 2500 towns and villages, will submit the petition to the government.

"The petition calls on the government and parliament to take steps to solve the situation that continues to deteriorate," SMO head Dan Jiranek said.

The petition mentions six types of problems which are the enforceability of law, the handling of offences, metal collection, social housing, welfare benefits and employment.

"We´d welcome it if the Labour Office were authorised to look into a central registry of offences and to tell selected welfare recipients: as you commit offences and drink heavily, we will not pay the welfare to you in cash but in vouchers to ensure food for your kids and prevent you from drinking," Jiranek said.

"Measures must be taken across all ministers. At present, particular ministries only deal with the respective problems they are in charge of. We need to solve the situation as a whole," Jiranek added.

In the petition, the SMO asks for an acceleration of court proceedings, a consistent punishing of crimes and offences and the completion and launch of a central registry of offences.

Repeat offences should be qualified as crime, the SMO says.

"It seems that the law and duties do not apply equally to all. The gap between those who want to live honestly and those who abuse the system has been increasing. A quick solution has a correctional effect as well," SMO deputy chairman Jan Mares said.

The metal collection rules should be toughened in order to prevent the collection of stolen metal. The collection of iron and colour metals from individuals who are not businesspeople should be banned, the SMO suggests.

Pavel Drahovzal, mayor of the Velky Osek village, central Bohemia, said the number of thefts of metal products has been increasing.

In 2012, 11,080 such cases were registered in the Czech Republic, causing a total damage of 455 million crowns. Last year, the number of registered thefts reached 11,786 and the damage 509 million crowns, Drahovzal said.

Money for social housing should be provided by the state, but it should not interfere with municipalities´ decision making, the SMO says.

The paying out of welfare benefits should be linked to a motivation to work. For example, the state should reintroduce public service to enable the unemployed to earn some money, the SMO says.

($1=21.025 crowns)

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