RIGA - The government coalition on Monday reached an agreement to disburse EUR 500 for each child to families, LETA learned.
Under the agreement, reached at the weekly coalition meeting, a special benefit of EUR 500 will be provided to each child.
Writing on Twitter, National Alliance leader Raivis Dzintars thanked everyone who supported the ide and helped to turn it into reality. "A feeling of a small but important victory!" the politician tweeted.
Dzintars also told LETA that the money should be disbursed to the families with children as soon as possible.
According to the Finance Ministry's estimates, the one-off support would cost the state budget EUR 179 million. The estimate is based on statistical data, suggesting that there are currently 358,000 minors in Latvia at the moment. The Welfare Ministry is yet to provide more specific data.
The Welfare Ministry has been tasked with working out proposals, which have to be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers. If the ministry's proposals receives the government's approval, the State Social Insurance Agency will disburse the money to the families.
According to LETA's information, the EUR 500 benefit could be paid out in March along with the state family benefit.
Gatis Eglitis, an MP of the New Conservative Party, told LETA that this will be one-time support to families.
As reported, on Monday, February 8, the government coalition was unable to reach a consensus on the National Alliance's proposal to disburse EUR 500 in one-time benefits to all families for each child.
National Alliance chairman Raivis Dzintars said that many families are suffering from a reduction of income, kids have been learning at home for quite some time already and families are adapting their day-to-day lives and buying various thinks necessary for schooling at home.
Finance Minister Janis Reirs (New Unity) initially objected to this proposal but later proposed paying monthly support to financially struggling families for each child until the Covid-19 crisis is over.
"My opinion on the proposal about a one-off benefit, which was discussed at the coalition cooperation meeting, triggered a heated public debate, which is why I would like to explain my opinion. I believe that a more effective and targeted proposal would be to introduce a constant monthly support to families for each child, targeting particular groups of people whose income has reduced during the crisis or who have lost their jobs amid the state of emergency and various restrictions," Reirs said.
The finance minister said that the crisis has been difficult for everyone but there are groups of people that have been hit especially hard, for instance, single-parent families, families with many children, parents subsisting on downtime benefits. The Covid-19 crisis has deepened social inequality and widened the income gap.