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Can family subsidies reverse demographic downturn?

January 17th, 2017

A pro-government commentator takes up the defence of public subsidies and tax rebates to parents as the only means to end the dangerous drop in birth rates, given that Hungarians reject the idea of solving their demographic problems through mass immigration from the Muslim world.

In Magyar Idők, Éva Haiman concedes that the left-wing opposition is right when it cautions that people are not slot machines where you put money in and can expect a child to be born as a result. Nevertheless, she argues strongly in favour of measures like the “child raising grant” which allows one parent to stay at home during the child’s first three years, the tax rebates given to families whereby parents with several children pay practically no income tax at all, as well as the subsidy to couples planning to have children, to build or buy new homes. This latter measure was only introduced last year and such grants have already been taken out by over 44 thousand couples. Similar measures, Haiman argues, are intended to solve the problems of those Hungarians who delay the birth of their children because of financial difficulties. The stakes are high, she continues. By 2060, people over 65 years of age will represent one third of the population, as against 14 per cent in 2000. The ratio of children is expected to fall from 22 to 14 per cent during the same period, with the size of the population shrinking from 10 to under 8 million. Since Hungarians strongly reject the idea of wholesale “population imports” from third world countries, Haiman concludes, family subsidies are vital to keep Hungary going in the long run.


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