The Lower Austrian state government has announced the introduction of a new housing and heating subsidy, with a budget of €85 million, and the abolition of the ORF state tax. The subsidy is designed to provide financial support to one-person households with a gross annual income of up to €40,000 and multi-person households with up to €100,000 for their annual heating costs.
Under the new scheme, the first person in a household will receive a one-time payment of €150, with an additional €50 for each additional person. The subsidy is available to Austrian citizens, EU citizens, and those entitled to asylum with their primary residence in Lower Austria, regardless of whether they rent or own their home.
In addition to the one-time payment, eligible households can receive additional support for their annual heating costs. The subsidy is independent of the form of heating and living, whether rented or owned. Applications for the subsidy can be made from April 19th on the state’s website, and a hotline will also be set up. The deadline to apply is June 30th.
The SPÖ, also represented in the state government, has expressed support for the new subsidy, but called for further measures to address rising heating costs. They have proposed a heating price freeze, which would limit heating costs to a maximum of 5% of household income.
In addition to the housing and heating subsidy, the state government has also announced the abolition of the ORF state tax. The move comes as part of the changeover from the GIs fee to a household fee. The state government will finance the promotion of young people in the cultural and sports sectors from the budget.
The planned household levy has been criticized by the FPÖ state party leader Landbauer, who has called it an “ORF penalty tax” and a “rip-off”. However, the decision to abolish the ORF state tax was unanimously supported by the state government.
State governor Mikl-Leitner has emphasized the need for swift action, stating that the state government will be judged by its actions. When asked about the potential impact of the ÖVP-FPÖ pact on the federal level, she declined to make any predictions, stating that the voters will have the final say.
The new housing and heating subsidy and the abolition of the ORF state tax are designed to provide financial relief to Lower Austrian residents, particularly those with lower incomes. The subsidy is open to a wide range of eligible households, regardless of their form of heating and living. With applications opening on April 19th, eligible households are encouraged to apply before the June 30th deadline.