Viktor Orban promises Hungarian mothers tax relief for more children
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced in Budapest on Sunday a seven-point action plan on helping families with children in order to tackle population decline, promising mothers tax cuts if they have more babies.
In a televised speech, Orban said the first point of his plan would be to support young couples, with each woman under 40 set to receive a loan of 10 million forints (around 35,000 U.S. dollars). After giving birth to three children, the loan would not have to be paid back and would become non-refundable support.
Orban also promised young couples more help in acquiring their first homes, with mortgage support tied to the number of children they have.
The government would pay one million forints (3,550 U.S. dollars) of the parents' mortgage after the birth of a second child, and four million forints after the birth of a third child.
The fourth point might be the biggest incentive for larger families. Women giving birth to four children will be exempted for life from the payment of personal income taxes.
Orban also announced plans to launch a large family car purchase program.
Accordingly, the government will give 2.5 million forints (8,870 U.S. dollars) as a non-refundable grant to new seven-seater cars for families with at least three children.
In order to help mothers return to the labor market, Orban promised 21,000 new places in nurseries in the coming three years.
In his last point, Orban presented a child support subsidy payable for grandparents, encouraging them to help families in raising children.
Orban, who was elected last April to the third term in power, has set out to tackle the demographic decline in Hungary, which saw its population drop below 10 million people a few years ago and continues to decrease each year by several tens of thousands.
Despite the declining population, Orban remains fiercely opposed to immigration, with the controversial prime minister saying "Hungarian people think differently" from the West, adding "we need Hungarian children."
A study by the United Nations suggests that by 2050, Hungary's population could fall a further 15 percent to 8.7 million people.
Despite concerns over a dwindling labor force, Hungary's GDP grew at an impressive five percent in 2018, according to the European Commission. The EC expects growth of 3.4 percent this year, and 2.6 percent in 2020.