Seoul Metropolitan Government recently released its 2016 budget plan, featuring spending of KRW 27.45 trillion. This budget plan has been given the name “Vibrant Livelihood Budget” and is expected to improve the livelihoods of Seoul citizens through welfare innovation, and non-capital intensive urban renewal.
Seoul’s 2016 budget plan is focused on three tasks: ① expanding the safety network for public health services and customized welfare, ② creating jobs and developing a Seoul-style creative economy, and ③ carrying out people-centered urban renewal, which involves making Seoul a more pedestrian-centered city.
First, the government allotted a total of KRW 54.2 billion for welfare to improve community service centers and install automatic civil complaint processing devices. Moreover, KRW 34.6 billion has been allotted for social contribution training, re-employment, and cultural and leisure activities for late middle-aged citizens, and KRW 165.4 billion will be invested in the construction of 300 more national and public daycare centers.
Second, in an effort to enhance Seoul’s competitiveness, Seoul Metropolitan Government will invest KRW 463.5 billion to establish a foundation for a Seoul-style creative economy, innovate traditional manufacturing, foster the R&D and MICE industries, and others. In addition, KRW 190.3 billion has been set aside to fund 64 projects for immediate implementation based on policies and suggestions made by citizens during Mayor Park Won Soon’s “Employment Trail,” in which the Mayor met with citizens, businesses, and universities at 99 different sites throughout the month of October in an effort to find solutions to the unemployment issue.
Third, the city government will focus on improving, preserving, and organizing the maintenance system for residential environments in Seoul for the next 100 years, as well as on creating a new economic center to enhance the competitiveness of Seoul in preparation for an era of slow growth. To this end, the government will invest KRW 434.3 billion in urban renewal, which is a 50 percent increase over that of last year’s budget.
“Practical local autonomy must be backed by financial support from the central government,” said Mayor Park Won Soon, adding, “I hope that the central government will acknowledge the local financial situation and make the decision to promptly honor its promise to provide financial support for regional governments so that true decentralization—supported by real autonomy and finance—can be realized in the future.”