More babies in Poland, one year after new payouts for parents
PR dla Zagranicy
The number of babies born in Poland has spiked since the government introduced payouts a year ago to encourage families to have more children, a minister has said.
Giving parents handouts of PLN 500 (USD 127, EUR 118) a month - a move aimed at counteracting Poland’s demographic problems - was a key pledge by the Law and Justice (PiS) party ahead of its victory in the country’s general election in late 2015.
The “500+” programme came into force on 1 April last year.
Family, Labour and Social Policy Minister Elżbieta Rafalska said: "We have a third month of growth and it’s rapid growth” in the number of babies being born.
She said that November and December saw increases of 15 percent and 12 percent, while in January 4,000 more children were born than in the same month last year, a 14 percent increase.
Rafalska said Poland had not seen such a spike in births since 1995.
With its “500+” programme, the PiS government aims to ease the burdens of child-rearing by giving families with two or more children a handout of PLN 500 a month per child.
Poorer families receive the allowance even if they have just one child.
Supporters say that apart from encouraging couples to have children, the scheme has led to a better quality of life for families, cut child poverty and provided a boost to the economy as parents have more money to spend.
According to the Family, Labour and Social Policy Ministry, some 3.8 million youngsters -- 55 percent of all Polish children under the age of 18 -- have benefitted from the program.
By the end of February this year, Polish families had received over PLN 21 billion in total under the scheme.