Families will be able to retain an additional 200 billion forints (EUR 651 million) in the next five years due to the government’s family support initiative, Minister for Human Capacities Zoltán Balog said on Tuesday at a demographic conference in Budapest.

Mr Balog spoke at the five-year anniversary of the Demographic Roundtable, saying that the additional money will consist of housing benefits, further extensions of the tax rebate system, state support for mothers of infants returning to part-time jobs, a bonus of 5,000 forints per months for a two-year period for newlyweds and increased nursery capacities.

He said the government aimed at reaching a fertility rate that would mean at least keeping level the Hungarian population, reminding that whereas young couples on average plan to have 2,1 children, they ultimately end up with 1,34. He said Hungarian birth rates have been declining since 1981 with an all-time low of 1,24, while sustaining the current population would require 2,1 children – which coincides with young couples’ own plans.

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He said that this tax rebates have had a positive impact for 260,000 families, adding that the government planned a legislation according to which mothers with many children should be provided with a part-time job for the first five years of their youngest child, should they ask for one. He said the government will promote this through a 100,000 forints per employee per year tax reduction for employers.

Mr Balog said that as of next year, housing benefits will be extended to include support for the purchase of used homes and refurbishment, with support for one family ranging from 400,000 to over 4 million forints.

(Ministry of Human Capacities)