Large families are set to get a boost as President Nikos Christodoulides on Sunday announced improved benefits.
Addressing the Pancyprian Organisation of Large Families on Mother’s Day, he said the government’s aim is to reintroduce a mother’s benefit, and to immediately increase it by €50.
In addition, he said a summer bonus of €70 per child will be paid to all families with three dependent children and €100 for each child for families with four or more children.
The total cost of this move is €3 million, he said.
As the father of a large family himself – he has four daughters – and growing up in a large family, Christodoulides said he is ready to sit down with the association to see how members can be better served by society.
To start with he said he would examine measures related to shorter and more flexible working hours for parents with many children, and that benefits for large families based on income criteria is not something that will be followed by the current government.
At a time when the modern way of life and the rhythms of everyday life, combined with the changing socio-economic conditions cause multiple and complex challenges, the role of motherhood and the mother of many children becomes particularly important, Christodoulides said.
“I would like to express my great appreciation and full respect for your valuable contribution to the construction of our society,” he added.
Besides, it is something I know personally, as a father of four children, and since I grew up in a large family with four children, and I know from my late mother what it means to grow up in a large family.
The demographic ageing of the population is one of the biggest challenges facing any country today, but especially in our country “it is a huge challenge”, the president said.
According to the statistical service, in 2021 the number of births in the Republic increased to 10,309 from 9,930 the previous year.
However, the birth rate for 2021 was estimated at 11.5 per 1,000 inhabitants.
With a fertility rate of at least 2.10 children per woman needed to maintain the size of the population, the number in Cyprus is now a mere 1.4, which puts it among the lowest in Europe. Fifteen to 20 years ago the island had one of the highest rates in Europe.
With most young couple’s only having one or two children, “the need to support the institution of the family and especially the practical and substantial contribution of large families, which are, among many others, the backbone of our society, is becoming more and more urgent,” he concluded.