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Címlap Sajtó Rólunk, tőlünk Conference highlights child poverty in Hungary
Conference highlights child poverty in Hungary
By: MTI (2008-11-12 13:30)

Hungary's children are poorer than what the country's economic level can justify - poorer than the European Union average, and poorer in rural than in urban areas, said the head of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Institute of Economics children's programme at a conference in Budapest on Tuesday.
Sociologist and economist Zsuzsa Ferge pointed out that 14 percent of Hungarian children live in homes in which no one has a job. Only three other EU countries have worse numbers than that, she told the opening of the "Give Kids a Chance" project conference.

Ferge warned that joblessness was an even more pervasive problem than appeared on the surface. Most poor people cannot buck poverty with a minimum wage job, so "if they can only make a minimum wage … they don't go to work," she said. The problem is that low earnings do not help families to escape poverty. "So it is not worthwhile talking about aid as a counterincentive to working until work and wages begin to act as an incentive," said Ferge.

She called for setting specific goals in countering poverty, deliberately increasing funds, evolving closer cooperation between central and local governments and between planners and the targeted population. She also called for a buffer to limit the effects of the global financial and economic crisis, for family-based assistance to people who lose their jobs, and for a halt to turning off utilities and evicting poor families.

"Give Kids a Chance" project manager Lena Szilvasi said the effort involved European Union programmes aimed at the most disadvantaged micro-regions. Two overall efforts will get underway in 2009. One, Szilvasi said, is aimed at halting the transmission of poverty and exclusion from one generation to the next with "Kids' Cottages" set up throughout the country to offer children an environment conducive to learning in early childhood. The other is to improve services and alleviate segregation on a micro-regional level, she said.