Families handouts invested 'perflectly', says Polish PM
PR dla Zagranicy
The government's flagship “500 +” programme is being “invested perfectly”, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło said on Saturday, a year since the payouts were introduced.
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło cuts the 500+ programme's "birthday cake". Photo: PAP/Tytus Żmijewski.
“As it turns out, if you trust families ... then money is not wasted, but it is invested perfectly … and that investment … is all these smiling, wonderful kids who are our future,” she 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.
It has seen more than PLN 20 billion paid out to families already, Szydło said.
The Prime Minister also said that under the programme child poverty was reduced by 94 percent and that the birth rate was rising monthly.
Meanwhile, Family Minister Elżbieta Rafalska on Saturday said that cultural changes were not behind Poland's earlier, lower birth rate.
“Cultural changes are important in the West,” Rafalska said, adding that Poland “is a country which still says it loves children … Polish families say that … the happiness of the family is the most important to us”.
But “it was a difficult financial situation … and concerns that the birth of another child would worsen our financial situation that caused fewer children to be born”.
Under the programme, PLN 500 is paid monthly for each second-born and next child, up to the age of 18 in all families, and also for the firstborn in low-income families.
Some 3.8 million children, or 2.5 million families, benefit from the programme.