The standard of living for the consumer is determined by purchasing ability. Israel is on average 22% more expensive than other developed countries, so the Israeli citizen lives has a lower standard of living than the rest of the citizens in most developed countries. Many Israelis who work for a living fail to successfully finance their livelihood in dignity, and this is a reality that we have a duty to correct.
New Hope will work to raise the standard of living of Israelis in all sections of the population, by lowering the cost of living, among other things in the following areas:
In order to lower the cost of a supermarket shop, we will work to reduce the power of the large monopolies in the food market and prevent them from blocking competition. At the same time, we will ensure that every entrepreneur will be able to import products into Israel that will lower the cost for the consumer, while complying with European standards. This will mean opening the market up to competition, a step that will lead to lower prices while maintaining public health.
We will close the water corporations in the local authorities. Authorities wishing to continue operating the water corporations will be able to do so under a corporate consolidation mechanism. This will practically lead to the abolition of VAT on water in those authorities, thus reducing water tariffs by about 17%.
In order to resolve the issue of bureaucracy involved in importing consumer products and food from abroad, we will concentrate all the relevant powers under one import authority: the Israeli Food Authority. The new authority will be an Israeli version of the American FDA, which will create uniformity for importers regarding the relevant regulation and lowering the price for the consumer.
The banking industry in Israel is characterized by surplus market power. This power is exercised by the banking system towards households, and small and medium-sized businesses. In order for consumers to enjoy better conditions regardless of who they bank with we will work to implement reforms which include increasing competition in the banking and financial services market and creating a more competitive credit environment.
We will work to reduce by 25% of the price of electricity within 4 years, by changing gas and electricity tariffs when renewing gas agreements with gas producers. In addition, we will continue to expand the IEC reform to create a competitive market between private electricity suppliers, with the help of the national electricity grid.
The experience of many citizens when it comes to the Postal Service is not satisfactory. Every citizen in the State of Israel deserves an efficient postal service. We will expand the competition in the postal system, while setting indicators for the speed of delivery.
For decades, selected food products have been sold at a subsidized price. However, there are unhealthy products on the list that do not meet the definitions of a healthy food basket. For example, white bread is subsidized while wholemeal bread is not. We will update the food basket so that it is in line with the growing trend of consuming healthy foods.
The Consumer Protection Authority is the body responsible for preserving the rights of consumers. We will work to streamline this body, striving to improve the service provided to the consumer. At the same time, we will expand its responsibility to include the power to punish businesses that have violated the Consumer Protection Law. In particular, we will work to establish a dedicated department within the authority that will take care of senior citizens and protect them from the phenomenon of the exploitation of the elderly.
We will work to include in the schools’ curriculum, content that deals with financial education and prudent consumerism. Adolescents who have acquired a basic financial education will be able to adopt proper habits and better understand how to manage a day-to-day budget. In this way we will be able to create better social mobility, reduce gaps, and develop economic resilience among the weaker sections of society.