Wed, May 08, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Subsidy program ‘raises city’s birthrate’

SUCCESS STORY:Subsidies to help parents cope have seen the birthrate in Taipei rise by almost 60% in three years, but some parents called for a more comprehensive plan

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government yesterday praised its childbirth subsidy program on the program’s third anniversary for raising the birthrate in the city by almost 60 percent, while some parents suggested that the city government should present a more comprehensive childcare policy.

The program, initiated by the city government three years ago with the aim of increasing the city’s birthrate, gives guardians of newborns in Taipei City a NT$20,000 subsidy. Families with children under five years old and an annual net income below NT$1.13 million (US$35,000) are also eligible for a monthly subsidy of NT$2,500. Children who are five years old and enrolled in city kindergartens can enjoy full tuition subsidies.

According to Taipei City’s Department of Civil Affairs, the city has so far given NT$690 million in subsidies to more than 260,000 newborns and other children. Last year, newborns in Taipei City numbered 29,000, the department said.

Celebrating the program’s anniversary, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said that the low birthrate has been a serious problem in Taipei City.

He added that the program forms part of the city’s efforts to encourage more couples to have children and for younger people to build their homes and settle their families in the city.

“The Taipei City Government wants to be a home for all young parents, and we will continue the childbirth subsidy program to ease young parents’ financial burden,” he said.

Taipei resident Chuang Shu-han (莊舒涵), who received the subsidy last year, expressed appreciation for the program and suggested that the city government present a more comprehensive childcare policy in order to establish a friendlier environment for citizens to raise their families in the city.

“I did not choose to have children because of the subsidy and I don’t think the subsidy is necessary. I care more about a long-term childcare policy,” she said.

For example, the city government should build more parent-children centers around the city to provide safe spaces for families, she said.

Taipei resident Lin Ya-shin (林亞欣), mother of a one-year-old boy, said she took the monthly subsidy as “extra money” and used it to buy medical insurance for her son.

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