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Sunday 17.12.2017 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda
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WM: the plan to increase family benefits requires additional EUR 12 million

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBecause of funding deficit, Welfare Ministry offers correcting the size of state benefits for first, second and every following child in a family, Diena wrote with reference to Welfare Minister Jāņis Reirs.

It is planned to allocate EUR 28 million as benefits for large families in 2018, and EUR 32 million in 2019. This plan was agreed upon following the ultimatum imposed by the National Alliance and decision to put on hold the construction of Liepaja prison.

Saeima deputy and head of Demographic Affairs Centre Imants Parādnieks noted that this measure will also make sure that a family’s state benefit amount for the first child will be EUR 15 (EUR 11.38 currently), EUR 35 for the second child (EUR 22.76) and EUR 100 for the third and every consecutive child instead of the current amount of EUR 34.14.

Welfare Ministry’s objective was calculating if this amount is enough. As it turned out, there is not enough money in the state budget to afford that. The budget is short EUR 12 million to provide families EUR 100 a month for every third and consecutive child.

With that, one other variant is paying EUR 12 for the first child, EUR 25 for the second and EUR 75 for the third and consecutive children. The government will have to decide on the most appropriate solution later.

Reirs is confident that the lack of funding is not the biggest problem by far, because Latvia still does not have a good approach for resolving demographic problems.

«The question is do we truly want to raise birth rates or is it only about coming up with a new policy. Policy consists of slogans and allocation of funding through ultimatums. If we really want to raise birth rates, we have to involve scientists. It is a very serious problem, and we need as many professionals participating in its resolution as possible,» said the minister.

Demographer Pēteris Zvidriņš notes that, scientifically speaking, for a change in generations to occur, and average woman should give birth to 2.15 children over the course of her life. With that, emphasis on large families may not be an effective solution, because only 40% of mothers give birth to the second child.

«First of all efforts have to be put in motivating parents into having a second child, which would improve the demographic situation. No major increase of birth rates can be reached with large families,» Zvidriņš said.

Reirs had previously noted: «Welfare Ministry believes it may be possible to improve the demographic situation and increase birth rates more by realizing a second child policy instead of the third child.» Demographic Affairs Council confirmed an additional amount of EUR 28 million for 2018 and EUR 32 million in 2019 to increase benefits. Nevertheless, there was no unanimous support for this idea.

The minister also said 70% of Latvian families have only one child. Because of that, it would be more logical to realize a second child policy instead of a third child policy.

Ref: 225.109.109.4100


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