State child allowances to increase

The ruling coalition has reached an agreement on state aid to families

Families with children should get more money from the state. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) announced on Twitter that the ruling coalition is setting aside an additional Kč 4 billion for the purpose in next year's budget.

He stated that child allowances would rise by Kč 300 per month, and families with up to 2.7 times the subsistence level will be eligible to claim it. Tax credits for the first child will increase by Kč 150 per month for the first child. “I'm glad that we'll take the next significant step in support of families with children,” he said in a tweet.

The solution was a compromise. The Social Democrats (ČSSD) wanted a Kč 500 per month increase in allowances, while ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) wanted to use only tax credits. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) said his party wanted to raise the tax rebate for working parents for the first child by Kč 200 per month.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová (ČSSD) said all three coalition parties made an effort to reach an agreement. She added that the proposal was likely to be approved by parliament unless some parameters that are not now evident are added to it. Party leaders previously tried to resolve the issue in January.

Currently, the allowances are paid for about 400,000 children. Families earning up to 2.4 times the subsistence level can claim Kč 500 per month for children up to 6 years of age, Kč 610 per month for children up to 6 to 15 years of age and Kč 700 per month for children up to 15 to 26 years of age.

The proposal comes ahead of Czech legislative elections scheduled for October 2017. The ruling coalition is now prioritizing what legislation it hopes to pass before the elections take place.

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) was critical of excessive state spending before the election, and reminded people that there is already a budget deficit. He warned against what he called “salami tactics” of adding items one at a time to next year's budget.

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