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What are the effects of 500 plus? The benefit was supposed to improve the fertility rate, but the demographic crisis is deepening

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The Family 800 plus program is no longer about fertility, it’s about dignity – this is the new PiS line. Why is the fertility rate falling in Poland and increasing in the Czech Republic? The Minister of Family and Social Policy, Marlena Maląg, replies that it takes decades to change the trend. The opposition says that women are “afraid to give birth because they are afraid to lose their lives.”

When it comes to fertility, after eight years of PiS rule, after years of the Family 500 plus program, it is still low. – It all starts with the state’s investment in another human being – assures the Minister of Family and Social Policy Marlena Maląg.

On Monday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Minister Marlena Maląg and President Andrzej Duda boasted that over PLN 230 billion had already been spent on 500 plus. And what are the effects? According to Eurostat data from 2021 on the fertility rate, we are in 24th place in the European Union. It is worse only in Malta, Spain and Italy.

– Despite billions spent, the birth rate is falling dramatically. In the first half of this year, 70,000 fewer Poles were born than died, and these are catastrophic figures, points out Arkadiusz Marchewka, an MP from the Civic Coalition.

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READ ALSO: Kaczynski: 800 plus equal to German and English benefits. Not exactly

– We are changing this situation and in order to change this situation, it takes decades of systemic, comprehensive action, and we are doing it – assures the Minister of Family and Social Policy.

The president signed the bill on 800 plusTVN24

Czech example

For years, experts warned that this would be the case, and now they are advising us to get used to the fact that we are no longer, and may never be, a nation of 38 million. – Last year, the Central Statistical Office announced for the last time that we are a nation of 38 million, now due to the fact that we have more and more people who die and fewer and fewer people are born, we will be descending from this level faster and faster 37, 36, 35 million people – explains Dr. Antoni Kolek, president of the Pension Institute.

This shows that the program that was supposed to reverse demographic trends is not working. The rulers therefore gave it a completely new meaning: “revolution of dignity”. However, all billions of dollars in spending have not resulted in a reversal or even a clear stop of demographic trends. During the conference in the Senate, the example of the Czech Republic was given, where the fertility rate is much higher than in Poland and is still growing, which proves that social transfers are not the most important.

– Not only that we give money to families, but we should also think about those social services that – especially in the case of families at risk of exclusion – give children a chance to break this spiral of exclusion and passivity somewhere – points out prof. Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak, director of the Institute of Statistics and Demography at the Warsaw School of Economics.

For this to happen, universal access to nurseries and kindergartens must be ensured. As we have heard, in order for women to give birth to more children, they must have guarantees of not only housing and financial security. – They are afraid of giving birth because they are afraid of losing their lives in the delivery room. There is no funded in vitro procedure. If a woman gives birth to a child with a disability, she remains alone with all the challenges associated with it, stresses Aleksandra Gajewska, an MP from the Civic Coalition. Meanwhile, instead of assurances of safety, women hear that the revolution continues.

Main photo source: TVN facts

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