The Madrid regional premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, has announced a series of financial incentives in order to encourage births and help reverse Spain´s ” demographic challenge” population decline.
The measures, which according to Ayuso, amount to the “biggest childbirth incentive plan in Spain” were announced today, Monday 10th January, at the Nueva Economia Forum at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid.
The Madrid president said the regional government would be allocating some 4.5 billion Euros over the next 5 years as well as introducing some 80 measures to encourage “mothers and fathers to meet the challenge of having children and then more children” whilst being able to reconcile this with their professional lives.
Ayuso’s electoral pledge to give young mothers financial support to the tune of 14,500 Euros per child was introduced on the 1st January.
Under the plan, mothers under 30 years of age who have been registered in the Community of Madrid for at least a decade can apply for a monthly grant of up to 500 Euros from the fifth month of pregnancy until the child is two years of age, as long as they earn less than 30,000 Euros per year.
“The lack of economic possibilities cannot continue to be an obstacle to carry forward the illusion of forming a family,” Ayuso said. “Maternity protection be one of the most important axes of this legislature, in order to tackle ” the childbirth challenge “in a decisive way.”
In addition parents can now apply for fiscal deductions from their tax return for up to 2,100 Euros per year, for each additional child.
Some of the other 80 measures allow for increased resources for fertility treatment in the region and Ayuso called on the central government to compliment these with further action to reverse what many fear is a long term trend in population decline.
The regional government hopes the initiative will add 20,000 births a year to Madrid’s already 50,000 a year babies who are born in the Madrid region.
The latest figures from the government’s central statistics agency show a decline of 0.15% ( 72,007 people) in the Spanish population over the previous year due to ” a negative natural balance” and “a practically zero migratory balance.”
Some commentators see the long term trend in bleaker terms with one UN Report forecasting a halving in the coming decades.