PM voices opposition to calls to expand heating bill support
SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday voiced opposition to calls to provide more financial support to help people cope with a spike in heating and energy bills, citing the sustainability of fiscal soundness.
"The Republic of Korea's fiscal policy should not be evaluated as a sham, both internally and externally," Han told a parliamentary meeting, referring to South Korea by its official name.
Han made the remarks in response to a lawmaker's question on whether the government would expand its support for heating bills.
Last week, the government announced a set of measures to help vulnerable people who face soaring heating and energy bills.
Han told lawmakers that the measures would help most vulnerable people afford their heating bills.
"I think we should focus on vulnerable people first," Han said. "This time, it seems that the blind spots for beneficiaries of basic livelihood and the second-lowest class have been almost resolved."
Han also rejected calls to collect more taxes from refining companies that enjoyed hefty profits due to higher oil prices, saying that local refineries have relied on refining margins to make profits.
"A very careful approach is needed. It is not appropriate for our country," Han said.
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