Poland to ramp up child benefit payments from 2024

WARSAW (Reuters) -The Polish government will increase monthly child benefit payments to 800 zlotys ($193.13) per child from 500 zlotys from the start of 2024, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said on Sunday.

The family support program called "Family 500 plus" is a flagship project of the Law and Justice party (PiS), which was introduced in 2016.

"... from the new year, 500 plus will be 800 plus," Kaczynski told a convention before parliamentary elections due this autumn.

Among other measures designed to ease the cost of living, Kaczynski said medicine would be available for free to people over 65 and under 18, and the government would abolish tolls on state-owned national highways.

Child benefit payments currently cost the state budget over 40 billion zlotys a year. The PiS leader did not say how much the benefit increase would cost, but expressed confidence it would not fuel inflation.

"We hope that inflation will be low in the new year, so this new financial injection will no longer threaten a return to inflationary tendencies - we have taken this into account," Kaczyński said.

Inflation eased to 14.7% in April from 16.1% in March and Poland's central bank expects it to be in single digits by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter that the government will deal with the proposals announced at the election convention at the next meeting.

The next election convention of the Law and Justice party is to be held in June.

($1 = 4.1422 zlotys)

(Reported by Pawel Florkiewicz and Karol BadohalEditing by David Goodman and Christina Fincher)