Yoon approves 100 bln won in reserve funds for heating bills

SEOUL-- President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday approved 100 billion won (US$81.4 million) in reserve government funds for emergency use in supporting vulnerable groups with soaring heating bills, his office said.

Yoon approved the funds only hours after the item passed a Cabinet meeting, which was held a day earlier than scheduled, according to senior presidential secretary for press affairs Kim Eun-hye.

"The approval was given swiftly in the hopes of easing the burdens of vulnerable citizens by even a small degree amid their struggle during the unprecedented cold wave," Kim said during a press briefing.

The reserve funds will be added to an existing 80 billion won budget to make a total 180 billion won available for use in doubling the value of energy vouchers for around 1.18 million vulnerable households from 152,000 won to 304,000 won.

The increase was announced by the presidential office last week as households have faced higher heating bills because of a global surge in gas and energy prices, with experts warning vulnerable people could be the hardest hit.

Yoon instructed his senior aides Monday to "actively consider ways to reduce the burden of heating bills on the middle class and ordinary citizens," Kim said.

During the weekly meeting, he also called on relevant ministries to ensure the needy receive heating bill assistance by providing them with proper information.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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