The leading Czech opposition party would keep some of the centre-right government's reforms in place if it came to power in the next election due in 2014, but it would look to reverse a planned pension overhaul, its leader said Saturday.
Not everything can be turned back. That is a result of what people decided in the lower house election (last year), Czech Television quoted Bohuslav Sobotka, the leader of the left-leaning Social Democrats, as saying.
Prime Minister Petr Necas' three-party coalition won power last year and has set out to fulfil its reform pledges despite the growing unpopularity of its austerity drive.
Its plans have won applause from investors and ratings agencies, and Standard & Poor's earlier this year raised the Czech sovereign credit rating to the AA bracket of very low risk countries that includes Japan and the United States.
The government has won approval for a second pillar to the pay-as-you-go pension system which will allow people to divert 3 percentage points from their social insurance tax to individual savings accounts, matched by a contribution of at least 2 percentage points from their salaries.
As part of the switch, the lower value-added tax (VAT) rate will be raised to 14 percent from 10 percent in 2012, and the upper VAT rate will stay at 20 percent. In 2013, the rates will be unified at 17.5 percent.
We will cancel or weaken the so-called second pillar, introduced in the framework of the government's so-called pension reform, Sobotka told a party conference, according to the Social Democrats' website.
While the party agreed with a higher VAT rate for new apartments, heating and public transport, it would return food, medicines and books to the lower VAT rate, he said.
It would also increase child leave benefits for parents and cancel premium payments for healthcare.
But it would leave the retirement age, which is set to rise to 67 in the coming decades, along with keeping a ceiling on social security tax payments and keeping a hospital stay fee, although it would reduce the fee.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; editing by Tim Pearce)