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Changhua County's new 'baby bonus' higher than Taipei's

2015/01/20 15:34:24

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) In a bid to curb the outflow of population and boost the vigor of largely rural Changhua County, the central county's government has upped its subsidy for new parents to top the levels seen in some major cities.

Changhua Magistrate Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) announced the new NT$30,000 (US$940) baby bonus per birth at a news conference on Jan. 16.

It is a part of the new local leader's campaign promise ahead of his November victory last year to revitalize Taiwan's most populous county. Like many counties in Taiwan, young people in Changhua tend to head to big cities like neighboring Taichung or Taipei in the north to seek out jobs.

"Children are our future, and if we don't try to solve the problem of population outflow, Changhua will become an aged county with falling tax revenue incomes," Wei said at the press conference.

"Starting from Jan. 1, parents will get the NT$30,000 subsidy for each newborn once they have completed the child's household registration."

"No matter which town or village a family lives in or how much subsidy it has been given by township authorities, the county government will absolutely make up the difference to bring the total subsidy to NT$30,000," he promised. "That is higher than the amount offered in Taipei or Taichung."

The capital offers a one-time subsidy of NT$20,000 per newborn as well as NT$2,500 per month for up to five years to eligible new parents, while Taichung, Taiwan's third largest city by population, offers NT$10,000 per newborn.

Wei pledged that he will honor each and every campaign promise over his four-year term, adding that the funds for the subsidy had been allocated by former Magistrate Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) before his term ended in December.

Social Affairs Department chief Huang Shu-chuan (黃淑娟) explained that as long as one of the newborn's parents lives in Changhua and has his or her household registration in the county uninterrupted for over a year, the family is entitled to receive the subsidy.

She said that more than 11,000 babies were born in Changhua last year.

Over 189,000 babies were born around Taiwan in the first 11 months of 2014, Ministry of the Interior figures show.

(By Wu Jhe-hao and Flor Wang)