Portugal "bottom" when it comes to family support

Portugal is the second European country that spends the least money on financial support for families, according to a study by the Portuguese Large Families Association (APFN). Only Poland pays its families less.
The association analysed data from 14 different countries – UK, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, France, Romania, Greece, Austria, Italy, Spain, Malta, Poland, Cyprus and Portugal – dividing them into three groups according to how well they supported families.
The first group – UK, Finland, Sweden, Ireland and France – offers “significant and universal financial support” to both mother and father who are regarded on equal terms (except in Ireland).
Next – Romania, Greece, Austria, Italy and Spain – give families “minor support but to a wide range of candidates”.
And then comes Portugal, Malta, Poland and Cyprus, all offering “very minor support to a small range of candidates”.
Even worse, the third group also grants the shortest period of ‘time off work’ to mothers – with fathers not allowed “exclusive” parental leave.
The study was based on data from the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and did not include the exact sums of financial support provided to families.
It did say, however, that families in Portugal “are penalised when it comes to water, rates and health service payments”.
Water tariffs are “much more expensive for large families then for couples or individuals”, revealed the study, and rates taxation “does not take into account the number of people who live in the same house”.
The study also questioned why ‘taxas moderadoras’ (health centre and hospital fees) start to be charged for children over the age of 12 – “an age that does not represent any kind of change to their state of dependency”.