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Conservatives: Student grants bigger problem than child allowance

DANISH NEWS - The hotly debated child benefits are 'petty cash' compared to the amounts spent on student grants for non-Danish students, says Brian Mikkelsen of the Conservative Party

The Conservative Party has warned that Danish SU student grants to foreign students are a far bigger drain on state finances than child benefits to foreigners, report seven59.dk and dr.dk.

The Danish child allowance is a fixed amount paid quarterly to all parents living in Denmark, but moves have been made recently get rid of the benefit and introduce tax deductions instead. Child benefits to foreign nationals have been hotly contested in the public debate recently.

Conservative party whip Brian Mikkelsen characterised child allowance as ‘petty cash’ compared to the DKK 69,000 given to 6,000 foreign students this year – around DKK 414m.

”It’s fairly obvious to everyone that SU is a far greater problem than child benefit,” said the former justice minister. ”A foreign student in this country can claim DKK 5,500 per month, while a parent gets a maximum of DKK 4,400 per quarter for every child.”

Pressure on national welfare systems

He urged the government to use the child benefit debate as a ‘launching pad’ for a cross-party agreement with the opposition that would safeguard Danish welfare such as child allowance, student grants, and other social benefits.

He noted that the Danish old age pension was amended before Denmark joined the common market in 1973, so foreigners are required to have resided here for 40 years before they are entitled to the full amount.

He said German chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that the EU shouldn’t act as a social union so it’s time that Denmark backed Germany, Great Britain, Holland, and Austria, who have asked the EU Commission to evaluate the extent of foreign EU citizens’ pressure on national welfare systems.

Read the article (in Danish) on dr.dk.

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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