Brazil to boost payments to poor

Barely a week after the government rejected proposals to boost minimum wage above inflation, President Dilma Rousseff announced an increase in payments the government makes to poor families in exchange for keeping their children healthy and in school.

The average increase will be 19.4 percent but some families, particularly extremely poor ones with many children, could see as much as a 45 percent boost. On average the adjustment is eight percent greater than Brazil’s overall inflation since September 2009, when the program was last adjusted. Known as Bolsa Familia, the program started under president Fernando Henrique Cardoso and expanded under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and has been credited with pulling millions out of poverty.