Italian Government Plans To Bribe Fertile Parents Into Having More Kids
The world has a population problem - but while in some areas there are simply too many people, in countries it seems that parents just aren't having enough kids.
We all know about the 'one child' policy over in China, right? Well, in Italy the exact opposite is the case, as the government is considering rewarding parents who have a third child in a bid to reverse the plummeting birth rate in the country, reports the Daily Mail.
According to reports, last year about 464,000 births were registered in Italy - a record low in Europe.
In a bid to address these figures, the populist government has conjured up a children-for-land incentive, whereby married couples who have a third child between 2019 and 2021 will receive free farmland for 20 years.
The controversial proposal was added to the country's latest draft budget and suggests the families who fit the criteria could also bag zero-interest loans for up to €200,000 (over £175,000 / $227,000) if they buy their first home near the farmland they would receive.
Speaking to the media, agriculture minister Gian Marco Centinaio said: "They say that Italians have few children and that something is needed to turn the trend around.
"That's why the ministry wants to contribute, favouring rural areas in particular, where people still have children."
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The proposal comes from the hard-right League government, so it's no surprise that the offer would only apply to married couples, as opposed to men and women in civil partnerships. The country does not recognise same sex marriages, and so the couples would need to consist of a man and a woman.
If foreigners would like to participate, they would need to have lived in the country for ten or more years.
The incentive proposal is just one in a number of controversial moves drawn out in the latest draft budget being negotiated by the government right now, and sits next to ideas to expand despite warnings from the European Commission to stop spending so much money.
And while Italy has the lowest birthrate in Europe, the idea to pay off families for having a third baby has been met with some interesting opinions.
Left-leaning newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano described the initiative as 'a little bit Gone with the Wind while at the same time something romantically Soviet.'
Meanwhile, Italians took to social media with the tags #terragratis (free land) and #terzofiglio (third child), with one user joking: "There's an extra bonus of €500 (£440 / $570) if it is a boy, and double if he is named Matteo or Luigi."
Source: The Telegraph
Featured Image Credit: PA