The Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, announced tax breaks and loan forgiveness to Hungarian mothers of four or more children.
The country has found a novel way of tackling the declining population issue. As per reports published by the World Bank, Hungary’s birth rate is at present below the European average, with 1.45 babies born to each woman on average as compared to 1.55 for the European area. According to 2016 report, France had the highest fertility rate in the EU at 1.92 children per woman while countries like Spain and Italy ranked lowest at 1.34, as per the EU statistics agency Eurostat reports.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban will offer lifelong tax exemptions to women giving birth to four or more children. Furthermore, young couples will receive interest-free loans of 10 million forints ( to $36,000) which will be forgiven as soon as they have three children.
This law is a measure to address the issue of the decreasing population of the country. As per a BBC report, Mr. Orban was quoted saying that “for the West,” the answer to falling birth rates in Europe was immigration:
For every missing child, there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine. Hungarian people think differently. We do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children.
While Mr. Orban was delivering his state of the nation address, the latest demonstrations were being held in Budapest against his government's policies. More than 2,000 people had gathered in front of his office, while others had blocked one of the primary bridges across the Danube river.
Some of the highlights from the government’s plans were to create 21,000 nursery places over the next three years. His government will also offer an extra $2.5bn to be spent on the country’s healthcare system, Housing subsidies and further extend State support for those buying seven-seat vehicles.
Mr. Orban concluded his speech with: “Long live Hungary and long live the Hungarians!”
Hungary’s new laws hope to increase the fertility rate to 2.1 by 2030 emphasized the State Secretary for Families Katalin Novak to BBC.
This is not the first time that Hungary has tried to resolve the population crisis issue, earlier in 2011 and 2012, Hungary allowed new deductions to help families save $400 and $1500 per child on taxes, according to the Institute for Family Studies. Research showed this might have helped boost the country’s population by 6,000 to 18,000 more births from 2011 to 2013. Followed by 2015, when the country announced subsidies for families to build homes.
Similar efforts have been undertaken by many countries like Russia, Serbia, Italy to boost the country’s declining birth rates. Germany initiated a new law, the “Good KiTa Act,” allowing lower childcare fees for parents who cannot afford the full price, and also a fee concession for parents who are granted a child allowance and housing benefits. China and Japan also suffer from the same crisis with fertility rates at 1.6 and 1.4 respectively. Considering the statistics available it is safe to say we need more mothers to take up the mantle!