The Pheu Thai Party has scrapped the 10,000-baht handout it promised during the election campaign, saying the high cost of the Move Forward Party’s welfare programmes would make it unfeasible.
The two parties are the main partners in an eight-party coalition but Move Forward is setting the policy agenda because it won 10 more seats than Pheu Thai on May 14.
Pheu Thai continues to insist that it will not abandon the coalition and will support Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat as the next prime minister, but the two parties are competing for the House speaker’s seat.
And while leaders of both parties have issued calls for unity, rumours continue to swirl that Pheu Thai would be part of an alternative coalition should the current arrangement collapse.
The Pheu Thai economic team on Thursday decided to scrap the 10,000-baht digital money handout because the welfare programmes planned by Move Forward would cost the state about 500 billion baht, said Phaophum Rojanasakul, the Pheu Thai deputy secretary-general.
“For the 10,000-baht digital wallet policy of the Pheu Thai Party, we still see a necessity to stimulate the national economy amid its weakness,” he said.
“But the policy would cost the state about 560 billion baht while the leading party’s welfare policies would require a similar amount of money. So, we must shelve this project.”
Pheu Thai had clear capital-oriented policies for high economic growth with equality, Mr Phaophum said.
Under its handout scheme, every Thai national 16 years old and over would be given a digital wallet with 10,000 baht to be spent within six months at businesses within a four-kilometre radius of where they live.
Srettha Thavisin, a businessman and Pheu Thai prime ministerial candidate, said during the election campaign that the handout would create an “economic tsunami” with positive ripple effects nationwide.
Move Forward, meanwhile, has promised a new and more inclusive welfare system with comprehensive coverage across all age groups.
Highlights include a 1,200-baht monthly child support grant and a 3,000-baht monthly pension for the elderly.