Child benefit should be half of “living wage”

authors of a study by UNICEF and the Independent Institute for Social Policy on
the situation of children in Russia concluded that child benefit should be at
the rate of half of a minimum “living wage”. The acting director of the
institute, Lilia Ovcharova, observed that currently the rate of child benefit
is 7% of the minimum “living wage”. The study showed that 18% of families in
Russia survive on less than minimum “living wage”. Data provided by Tatiana Maleva,
Director of the Institute of Humanitarian Development of the Megapolis, and
previously Director of the Independent Institute for Social Policy, half of
families with two children are technically in poverty. Meanwhile the law guarantees
pensioners a minimum “living wage”. The expert said that children living in
poor families do not have a good education. They are then less able to compete
for jobs, at risk of marginalisation and premature death. She stressed that
benefits are mainly targeted at families with many children. “Why have a third
child if the second plunges the family into deepest poverty?” is the question.


need conditions in which both parents can have a job and care for their
children – no amount of benefits can replace these conditions, as they can only
help in the short term, Ovcharova said. She said that for the past ten years
Russia has proved incapable of drafting a national action plan for children.
The UN recommended the drafting of such a plan; a country which has signed the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, is obliged to have such a plan. Recently
the Council of the Federation supervised the work on a document to outline
state policy on children’s welfare, said Alexei Golovan, a member of the
Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights and head of the charity “Cooperation
in Destiny”. He
said that the report would help with the drafting of a national action plan for
children. The last such report was drawn on in the action plan for 1996-2000.

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