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Urban Minimum Living Subsidy Raised After Inflation

The Chinese government has raised the urban minimum living allowance for low-income families by 15 yuan (US$1.98) a month in an attempt to counteract recent price hikes of daily commodities, the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported on Tuesday.

Local governments may offer a rise of more than 15 yuan if they can afford it, the ministry said.

Governments of all levels are required to implement the increase by the end of this month, the statement said.

"Low-income families have suffered the most from price hikes of daily commodities, such as pork," said Li Liguo, deputy minister of Civil Affairs.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's food prices have increased by 7.6 percent in the first half of this year over the same period last year. Egg prices soared by 27.9 percent and meat prices rose by 20.7 percent.

The minimum living subsidy for individuals varies among cities. In the capital of Beijing, the unemployed, those unable to work and elderly people who are financially dependent all receive 330 yuan (US$43.47) monthly. If a family's income is below 330 yuan they are eligible to get a subsidy ensuring that their monthly income equals the minimum allowance.

This subsidy covers about 22 million urban Chinese.

(Xinhua News Agency August 8, 2007)

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