RIGA - Finance Minister Janis Reirs (New Unity) proposes paying monthly support to financially struggling families for each child until the Covid-19 crisis is over.
In his statement to the press, Reirs underlines that families with children and their wellbeing is important to Latvia.
"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.
"The crisis has increased gender inequality, affecting women and single-parent families especially hard as they have to simultaneously deal with various issues of domestic life, schooling of their the kids and providing for their families," Reirs said, citing a recent UN survey.
"We need to take care of socially least protected residents, therefore I propose providing a targeted monthly benefit for each child to the most affected families and groups of residents until the Covid-19 restrictions are over," the finance minister said, stressing that the support is intended to lessen inequality, poverty and social exclusion.
Reirs believes that the monthly benefit paid to particular target groups would be a fairer and more effective measure than the one-off payment to all families with children.
The one-off payment, or the so-called "helicopter money" will not reduce inequality in any way. I therefore believe that it would be much fairer and useful to provide monthly support to to those who need it most until the Covid-19 restrictions are over, the minister said.
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.