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Budget plan will 'help the poor'
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09:15, March 11, 2009

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Low-income residents will benefit from the government's measures to increase spending on education, agriculture, healthcare and social security, a top budget official said yesterday.

"This year's budget plan could help maintain social stability and boost consumption," said Wang Dacheng, vice-director of the NPC Standing Committee's budgetary affairs commission.

The central government has earmarked 728.4 billion yuan ($106.4 billion) in its budget plan for education, healthcare, social security and housing for low-income residents, an increase of 29.4 percent from a year earlier, although the government only expects its revenue to grow at 8 percent. The government will also spend 716.1 billion yuan for rural residents and agricultural production, up 20.2 percent from 2008.

The country is facing rising pressures as the economy slows down and unemployment rises. The government estimated about 12 million people wouldn't be able to find jobs this year, pushing the registered urban unemployment rate to 4.6 percent.

Meanwhile, factory closures in the coastal area means migrant workers, who are excluded from official unemployment statistics, would find it difficult to bring back money to the countryside.

Analysts said the government's budgetary increase for the unemployed would provide a critical social safety net for the jobless.

"Increasing spending on people's livelihood is a critical move, which will help cope with the economic slowdown," said Wang.

Source: China Daily



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