Lithuania launches Polish-inspired family benefits
PR dla Zagranicy
Lithuania has introduced benefits for families inspired by the Polish government’s flagship 500+ programme.
As of 2018, Lithuanian parents can apply for monthly government support of EUR 30 (PLN 125) for each child under 18, while low-income families and those with three or more children will get EUR 58.5.
“We are taking an example from Poland where the 500+ programme is working well,” said Tomas Tomilinas, a vice chairman of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union party.
The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania party, which has eight seats in Lithuania’s 141-seat parliament, launched the initiative to introduce financial aid to families in Lithuania.
But Wanda Krawczonok, an MP from the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, a conservative, Christian democratic party which represents Lithuania’s large Polish minority, said EUR 30 per child per month was “not enough”.
She said that her party had suggested EUR 120 per month, to mirror Poland’s monthly handouts of PLN 500, but that the budget was not big enough to support the plan.
However, the Lithuanian government has promised to boost the monthly payout annually until it reaches EUR 100 per month in 2020.
In April 2016, the Polish government started handing out PLN 500 a month for each child in low-income families, and for second and subsequent children in all other families.
According to the Polish government, the programme has halved poverty and nearly eradicated child poverty.
The Polish government has also claimed that 500+ caused the birth rate to grow and predicted a 500+ fuelled baby boom. (vb)