Brussels Finance Minister calls for reduction to family allowances

Brussels Finance Minister calls for reduction to family allowances
Credit: Belga

Brussels Finance Minister Sven Gatz wants to ensure financial sustainability by reforming the family allowance system, he stated in an interview with Le Soir.

Gatz’ warns his colleagues of “the problems that will follow” if there is no solution to the high costs the Brussels Region has been disbursing. Since the sixth state reform, Brussels Region has been managing the payment of the allowances itself, which amounts to an estimated total of €950 million per year.

Since this inception, the new Brussels system has cost the regional funds an extra €30 million per year. “And if nothing is done, we risk having deficits of €50 to €100 million,” according to Gatz. 

Moreover, Brussels Finance Minister points out the effect of larger financial masses, indexation (4.23% increase for this year alone), and finally the change in the criteria for granting the increase in benefits in Brussels as reasons that can explain the budget imbalance.

Gatz offers a solution: "We need to preserve them for those who need them most. All the experts say that it is the best instrument to fight child poverty,” he told Le Soir.

 “The family allowance system is an important means of supporting parenthood and combating child poverty. We must provide new solutions to continue helping the most vulnerable and controlling our regional budget.”

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The French-speaking Brussels family organisation Ligue des Familles is opposed to the idea of reducing family allowance. Their main concerns are the alarming poverty figures and the economical damage after two years of the pandemic.  “This combined with the rising cost of living, it would be incomprehensible to reduce this financial support that families need more than ever,” Ligue des Familles reacted in a statement on Friday.

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