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Year on plus

31-03-2017

Better quality of life of families, lower poverty among children, fewer people using social assistance, and finally higher birth rate are just some of the effects of “Family 500+”. The programme is one year old

 

“The 'Family 500+' programme has changed the lives of many families in Poland, restored their dignity and raised the sense of security.Even though it has only been a year, the effects are even more significant than we have expected,” said Elżbieta Rafalska, Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy.

 

A year of 500+ in numbers

By the end of February 2017, support from the government's programme “Family 500 plus” covered more than 3.82 million children under the age of 18. More than 2.57 million families received almost PLN 21 billion.

 

Throughout Poland, the “Family 500 plus” programme covers 55 per cent of all children under the age of 18. In rural areas, this is 63 per cent, in urban communes – 49 per cent, and in urban-rural communes – 58 per cent.

 

The largest number of children is covered by the support in Mazowsze (almost 554 thousand), Śląsk (over 383.8 thousand) and Wielkopolska (over 379.6 thousand).

 

Poles about 500+

The majority of Poles support the “Family 500+” programme – a total of 77% – according to a study by the Public Opinion Research Centre (CBOS) published in March 2017.

 

More than half (52%) of the respondents assesses the state's policy towards family well (every tenth – very well). This is a significant change compared to the previous study in which the state's actions for the family were assessed as sufficient or even insufficient.

 

Most often, the respondents notice the positive impact of the “Family 500 plus” programme on the budget of households with children. The observed effects of the programme include the improvement of marriage and family relations (15%) and spending more time with children (14% of indications). Nearly every tenth respondent declares that he or she personally knows someone who has decided or accelerated the decision of the first or subsequent child due to the programme.

 

Social effects of 500+

The programme has also brought a marked improvement in the material conditions of families. We record smaller and smaller number of people using social assistance and nutritional assistance – a 10% decline compared to the previous year. This includes temporary allowances, designated benefits, nutritional assistance. Thanks to the programme, total poverty decreased 48 per cent and extreme poverty 98 per cent.

 

In 2016, about 13 thousand children more were born than in 2015. This year, the number of births should be even higher – even 25-35 thousand. It is very likely that one of the elements that affect higher birth rate is the “Family 500+” programme.

 

Fears of the critics of the programme – that families would squander money or that it would have a deactivation influence on the labour market – did not come true.

 

Impact on the economy

The increase in consumption related to better financial situation of families is noticeable. The standard of living of families collecting the child benefit has improved, allowing families to live in a sense of greater financial security.

 

The ING Financial Barometer study indicates that, thanks to the programme, parents could buy clothes (31%), footwear (29%) and go on family holidays (22%). Education is an important element: 22% of the respondents spent money on books and teaching aids, and 20% on extra activities for children. As many as 17% of the respondents funded school trips and journey for children thanks to the programme.

 

The study shows that 21% of people receiving funds from the 500+ programme started saving for the first time, and 36% are saving now more than before. In total, only 32% of programme beneficiaries admit that they spend all money from 500+ on a regular basis.

Local governments have also noticed a large change. Since the introduction of the programme last year, the economic situation in local markets has improved markedly.

 

What's next with the “Family 500+”?

The programme is monitored on a regular basis. A detailed review of the programme in the regions was carried out in cooperation with the Voivodship Offices. Based on its results, possible changes will be proposed. It is certain that the foundations of the “Family 500+” will remain unchanged: the universal benefit of 500 PLN granted for second and subsequent child without the income criterion until the age of 18.

 

“The 'Family 500+' programme was awaited by Poles and is appreciated not only in our country.The European Confederation of Large Families and the jury of 'Fighting for Families' granted us awards in recognition of our actions for families,” Minister Rafalska added.

 

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