The ruling coalition won’t change its planned ’social’ measures ahead of the election, said Smer leader Robert Fico on Thursday. Finance Minister Ladislav Kamenický (Smer) responded to the sharp slowdown in economic growth in the second quarter by calling on cabinet ministers to impose cost cuts. PM Peter Pellegrini will wait for more economic data. Before summer, the coalition announced measures totaling €500m, a combination of tax cuts (lower VAT on select food and 15% income tax for small companies) and new spending (increases in various social benefits and free lunches at schools). The coalition still insists on measures hurting the business sector, such as increasing the minimum wage and imposition of travel vouchers on small firms. This is likely to deepen the economic slowdown. Another outcome will be a huge public finance deficit that the new government will have to deal with after the February 2020 general election.