Chinese city offers subsidies to encourage families to have more children
- Couples in Panzhihua, Sichuan province, will be able to claim a monthly allowance of US$77 for second and third children
- It comes after Premier Li Keqiang pledges to ease the burden of childcare, saying population issue is ‘crucial’ to nation’s development
A city in Sichuan province has become the first in China to offer subsidies to help families raise more children, as the country tries to boost the birth rate.
Authorities in Panzhihua, a city in the southwestern province, on Wednesday said parents would be able to claim a monthly allowance of 500 yuan (US$77) per child for a second or third baby up to the age of three.
They will also get access to free hospital maternity care and employers and state-owned companies in the city are being encouraged to offer childcare services.
The move comes after Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday pledged to ease the burden of childcare to encourage more births.
“The country should improve the quality of … services, build an inclusive childcare system, and economic and social policies that cohere with family planning policies,” Li said.
“The population issue is crucial to China’s fundamental, overall and strategic development.”
China expands two-child policy to three
Beijing’s latest relaxation of family planning policy is an effort to turn around a declining birth rate, but the cost and pressures of raising children could deter Chinese from having bigger families.
State news agency Xinhua on Tuesday said the draft amendment to the population and family planning law would be submitted to China’s top legislature for deliberation next month.
Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan said families would be offered more support, with tax deductions for the cost of childcare for children under three and more preschool services being considered.
“We should break away from ideas, policies and mechanisms that affect long-term balanced population development,” she said. “We will support [parents] with a well-built system for childbirth services, and lower the costs for marriage, childbirth, raising and educating children.”