Thu, Feb 21, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Hungarian leader Orban bets big on a ‘baby boom’ to provide population boost

AFP, BUDAPEST

“A child is not just a question of money,” said Szekely, who is currently single, but would like to have children one day. “Good education and healthcare, and earning enough to raise a child are more important factors than keeping a lump sum if I meet a quota.”

“That’s not family protection — that’s a production program,” she said.

Social scientists are concerned that poor people — including those belonging to the impoverished Roma ethnic minority who make up about 7 to 10 percent of the population — do not have the stable jobs or spare cash needed to apply for the credit.

The measures mostly benefit middle and higher-income earners, Hungarian Academy of Sciences sociologist Dorottya Szikra said.

“Increasing child support payments — unchanged for 10 years — or providing more social housing would benefit more families,” she told reporters.

While the results of the new “baby boom” plan would only be visible over the long term, polls have suggested at least a short-term bounce for Orban.

That is welcome news for his Fidesz party, which has seen a dip in support over controversial labor reforms that triggered a wave of street protests.

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