Ratas: Family benefits system needs to be reviewed

The family benefits systems must be reviewed to keep up with rising consumer prices, Center Party Chairman Jüri Ratas said on Saturday. Estonia must also support Ukrainian refugees.

Speaking at the party's council meeting, Ratas said Center wanted to allocate more money for struggling families in the supplementary budget that was agreed by the coalition this week.

The state has to be several steps ahead when exceptional circumstances occur, he said, emphasizing the rapid growth of consumer prices.

"This is also one of the reasons why we see a very clear need to review the system of family benefits. Time has passed and it is quite clear that support for children and families must increase. Like pensions, family benefits must be subject to indexation," Ratas said.

He said the monthly child allowance for first and second children must rise from €60 to €100 and for families with three children to at least €700 from the current €300.

The chairman said discussions should be held about the reduction of child allowance when the oldest child reaches 19. He believes a "smoother" more "proportionate" adjustment is needed so families' incomes do not suddenly fall.

Ratas also said Estonia must support the newly arrived refugees from Ukraine.

He said standing up for Estonia's interests does not mean "rejecting, intimidating or degrading the women and children who come here".

They need "peace, necessary support and help" so they can fully integrate into Estonian society, work and go to school, the chairman said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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