Denmark Reviews Its Cradle-to-Grave Benefits as Poverty Rises

A commission convened to review Denmark’s benefits for jobless households is proposing to lift a limit on cash payments and create a special allowance for children, Borsen reported.

The idea is being put forward amid signs that a growing number of families are having a hard time making ends meet. The number of children living in poverty has doubled to 60,000 since 2001, according to a group of organizations including Save the Children that are lobbying for change.

The government says it wants to simplify the system and ensure that children in particular are protected from the effects of poverty. The proposed allowance is intended to pay for after-school activities and toys. Households would get a base monthly payment of around $1,100 and additional payments of as much as $1,700, depending on circumstances.

Some critics of the plan told Borsen that such changes could make taking a low-paying job unattractive. The commission’s findings suggest that up to 750 people would join the labor market.

Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard Thomsen said he’s seeking broad political backing for any proposed changes. The system has been tinkered with for years, and there’s a need for stability, he said in a statement.

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