Taxpayers will be forking out €9 million a year for supplementary allowances for 22,000 children living in poverty with a grant of €400 per year per child for the first three children. €200 will be granted for the fourth and other children.

Social Solidarity Minister Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said this morning the supplementary allowance would start to be paid in September to families where parents earned less than €11,000 a year or single parents who earned less than €7,000 (not from employment) or €9,000 (from employment). This payment would be over and above the children’s allowance the parents already received.

An innovative aspect of this new allowance, Ms Colerio Preca explained, was that it would be linked to school attendance, regular health check-ups for the children and the child’s participation in sport, cultural or social activities.

“This will be addressing poverty in a long-term manner and will ensure children’s psycho-social well-being. This is not simply a cash hand-out,” she said. The allowance would be given to children until they turned 23.

If parents did not adhere to the conditions, the children would not lose the allowance but this would be deposited in their name in an account or a trust and would be made available to them when they grew up.

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