Seoul city gov’t OKs stipend for jobless youths

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Seoul city gov’t OKs stipend for jobless youths

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said on Tuesday that it will start offering subsidies next year to thousands of job-seeking young people from low-income households.

The stipend is the city’s plan to provide monthly subsidies of 500,000 won ($427) to 3,000 young people who have not yet secured jobs. The city will invest 9 billion won in the plan next year.

An official at the city government said it intends to finalize a plan to operate the stipend by February, adding that the project was a public pledge by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. The city government will discuss managing the stipend with the central government and the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

On Tuesday, the Seoul Metropolitan Council passed a 27.5 trillion won budget bill for the next year, up 1.99 trillion won from a year earlier.

The bill, including most of Mayor Park’s ambitious projects, was passed six days after deadline. Mayor Park’s Seoul Station overpass project has faced political controversy and has been interpreted by some critics as a means for him to get ahead in the presidential election in 2017.

Seoul city councilmen earmarked 23.2 billion won for the creation of a pedestrian park, and 700 million won toward the construction of a concert hall for the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. While the major projects pushed by the mayor were approved, the 252 billion won Nuri program, or free state-subsidized day care for 3- to 5-year-olds, was excluded from next year’s budget plan.

The program, adopted in 2012, was designed to offer preschool education and day care to prepare children from all families for kindergarten.

The monthly subsidies, about 200,000 won per child, will no longer be available starting from January.

The council said the Nuri project was excluded to maintain an equal standard among all child care centers.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education previously withdrew funding for the centers, asking for the central government’s support.

BY CHO JIN-HYUNG [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]

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