On the 162nd anniversary of the founding of the first Hungarian nursery, Minister of State for Family and Social Affairs Miklós Soltész awarded nursery employees with several decades of experience “Pro Familiis” awards and ministerial diplomas on Wednesday.

Mr. Soltész said it was a fact confirmed by research that when mothers are able to choose between work and raising children, more children are born, as is the case when women can better reconcile work and childcare duties.

In order to promote the birth of more children, the Government has significantly increased nursery capacities, he said, adding that the Government has reinstated the three-year period for childcare benefit (Gyes) and that with the introduction of childcare allowance (Gyed) extra scheme, its aim was to help women who want to have children to rejoin the workforce later on.

Mr. Soltész said that 6,000 nursery places will have been created and an additional 4,800 places modernized by the end of 2014 within the framework Government’s 28 billion forint (EUR 91 million) nursery building programme that was launched in 2010. This means that by the end of the year Hungarian families will have at their disposal 38,520 nursery places, 20 percent more than when the Government took office in 2010. He said the programme created 107 new nurseries and 1,000 jobs.

The Minister of State also said that from 1 January 2013 children entitled to subsidised meals are being allocated a 30 percent higher quota of 102,000 forints (EUR 331) per year.

He also said that with introduction on 1 January 2014 of a change in basis for state support for nurseries from enrolled children to children present, financing has became more reliable and has increased by about 20-30%, a rise unprecedented during previous administrations.

Mr. Soltész said that in addition to the above, since the beginning of the year the meal subsidies budget for disadvantaged and multiply disadvantaged children has increased and municipalities that provide meals to nurseries receive earmarked funds for running kitchens and the salaries of related staff, translating into more reliable funding.