Poverty “not being able to provide the basic necessities of life” in twitter language trending in Europe. Or that should be trending after all.
The title contains the statement of the WEF that has included in their agenda: The "eradication" of poverty. However, based on the article below, I am assuming for the sake of convenience that the demolition is still underway to pave the ground for the Build Back Better program.
Gloomy new figures show that child poverty in Britain has hit an all-time high BEFORE THE pandemic.
Most of the poor children live in working families
Year-on-year figures released by the UK government on Thursday show that in the 12 months before the lockdown started in March 2020, the number of children living in poverty rose from 4,1 million to 4,3 million - the highest level ever.
When the pandemic hit, nearly 31% of children in the UK grew up in relative poverty - up from 29% the year before.
“It is very discouraging to see this increase in child poverty in the UK”, says Dan Paskins, UK Director at Save the Children. "And because these statistics are indicative of the pre-pandemic of child poverty, they don't even give us a full picture of the impact of Covid and possibly much worse the situation for children in a year."
Data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows that more than half of all children living in poverty are part of a family with a youngest child under the age of five. About 1,7 million children went hungry in 2019-2020 from families who could not afford enough food.
Poverty rates were highest among children in Bangladeshi families, with more than two-thirds (68%) poor, and more than half of children in Pakistani families (53%) in poverty.
The figures also showed that almost half (49%) of the children in one-parent families were underprivileged.
The future will tell how we tackled this pandemic for our children. It has been an overwhelming and stressful time for families already struggling with low income, and we cannot risk plunging even more families into poverty
The Child Poverty Action Group noted that the new statistics are pre-pandemic and "show how many families struggled financially even before Covid."
The figures show that the worst poverty was in Northern England.
In Scotland, the figures were only marginally better: Two-thirds of children in poverty live in households with someone in paid employment.
The government said the numbers measure relative poverty, which is calculated based on median income, as opposed to absolute poverty, adding that 700.000 fewer people were living in poverty than in 2010.
Don't leave your own country flat either, which is also well on schedule
POVERTY IN THE NETHERLANDS
Although the Netherlands is one of the richest countries in Europe, there is also poverty here. Research by the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) and the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows that single-parent families, people with a non-Western background, social assistance recipients and single persons under the age of 65 have a high risk of severe poverty. Poverty is expressed in (very) limited financial resources, social exclusion, health problems and limited access to education.
In 2018, 584 thousand of the nearly 7,4 million households had to live on a low income. There were just as many as in the previous year.
WHAT IS POVERTY?
The United Nations describes poverty as “not being able to provide the basic necessities of life”. Many studies show that in a rich country like the Netherlands more and more people are affected by poverty. We are talking about in the Netherlands absolute poverty if people live below the low-income threshold and, for example, do not have access to (healthy) food, housing, access to health care (eg health insurance) or no opportunities to continue learning after the mandatory school period.
Relative poverty refers to the living conditions of an individual or group in relation to his / her environment.
Social poverty means that people cannot participate in normal social life because there is no money for a sports club or association, for school activities or an outing of the old people's association or, for example, for access to the internet.
What is the low income threshold?
In 2018, the limit for a single person was 1.060 euros per month, for a couple it was 1.460 euros. With two underage children, the limit was a few 2.000 euros and for a single-parent family 1.600 euros. (CBS). The question is often asked what is the poverty line now? For this we refer to the description of the SCP: Where is the poverty line?.
Poverty not always visible
There is a lot of 'silent' poverty: it is often not visible that people can no longer pay their rent or that children have to leave the house without breakfast. The social safety net in the Netherlands is getting smaller and smaller. More and more people have to rely on social work, elderly care, social benefits, youth care, student finance, support for churches, etc. Due to the continuous cutbacks, these facilities are becoming less and less accessible.
A large group of people still live in poverty for a long time. We speak of long-term poverty when there is a poverty situation that lasts for at least four years in a row. Of the 584 thousand households that had to live on a low income in 2018, 232 thousand had to live on a low income for at least four consecutive years.
Fall back into poverty
However, it is striking that at a certain point people fall back into poverty. Of the people who have fallen out of poverty in a particular year, a year later almost 20% are in a poverty situation again. After five years, a total of 40% has relapsed into poverty. According to research by the Social and Cultural Planning Office.
VULNERABLE GROUPS IN THE NETHERLANDS
Children in poverty
In total, more than 2019 thousand children lived in households with an income below the low-income threshold in 251. This is evident from the latest Statistics Netherlands data on the risk of poverty.
One-parent families and singles up to the age of 65 are more often poor than average
Adult members of single-parent families with only minor children and single persons under the state pension age are most at risk of poverty. Single mothers with underage children are more often poor than single fathers with children. The Netherlands has nearly 534 thousand single-parent families. More than half of this (54%) consists of
single-parent families with only minor children.
Most of them are headed by a woman. The poverty rate in this category is much higher (almost 15%) than in the category of single-parent households headed by a man (7%). This is because single mothers are relatively often dependent on benefits. Single-parent families with adult children also show a smaller difference between women and men. In that case, 9% of the mothers and 5% of the fathers are in poverty.
The risk of poverty among 55 to 65-year-olds compared to other age groups is high and has grown since 2015. Those over 55 who have lost their jobs find it difficult to find work again. The increase in the state pension age also extends the time span of their poverty problem. This is shown by recent data from Statistics Netherlands.
A group that is often forgotten are the people who have a paid job but earn too little to make ends meet. The more limited the working week, the higher the risk of poverty. Work is seen as the way to get out of poverty. One third of all adults in poverty have paid work as their main source of income. In 2017, there were just over 666 thousand adults with an income below the not-very-adequate criterion.
Nearly 220 thousand of them had paid work as their main source of income, and working poverty make up nearly a third of adults in poverty. Within the group of poor workers, slightly more than half were employed:
Social assistance recipients are at greatest risk of poverty
After the nearly 220.000 working poor, welfare recipients are the second largest group among poor adults. In total, this involved approximately 2017 thousand people in 152. This was almost a quarter (23%) of the total group of poor adults. There is a high probability that welfare recipients are in poverty: more than a third of all welfare recipients in the Netherlands are poor.
There are also poor pension recipients
In addition to workers and welfare recipients, pension recipients are the third largest group among poor adults. In 2017 this involved 105 thousand people. Almost 90% of these people are long-term poor. The fact that the share in this group is not or hardly declining is also because this group cannot benefit from economic growth.
About half of all poor adults in 2017 had a migration background. Non-Western migrants are more often poor than Western migrants. The poverty risk differs per country of origin. Migrants from refugee countries have the highest risk of poverty among people with a non-Western background.
More people under administration for debt
The number of people who came under the supervision of an administrator due to debts has risen sharply in recent years, according to the Council for the Judiciary. In 2013 there were approximately 35 thousand people under administration due to debts, in 2018 there were already more than 56 thousand, an increase of about 60 percent.
CONSEQUENCES OF POVERTY
Poverty has profound consequences for a person's life. Poverty, for example, reduces the chance of an education, it relates to your living situation and your health. Shame, social isolation, loneliness, stress and depression can all result from poverty.
Poverty is bad for your health
People avoid a medical specialist or, for example, the dentist. Afraid of the costs that this entails. Do not forget the mandatory personal contribution towards the costs of the disease and medicines that are not reimbursed, these costs also ensure that people are less likely to seek medical help.
Poverty is stressful
Constant, long-term stress negatively affects the ability to make a good choice.
- The IQ decreases on average by 13 points *. This is comparable to not sleeping one night.
- Chronic stress is bad for body and mind. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and the risk of overweight.
- People have less brainpower and make more short-term decisions. People have 'too much on their mind'. The acute money problems take over you, so there is less attention for the long term and people are only concerned with his or her primary needs.
Opportunities to participate in society are declining
Poverty can also cause someone to become socially isolated. Due to a limited budget, the possibilities to participate in activities are decreasing. A limited budget can make the use of a car or public transport too expensive. Just like a telephone, computer or the Internet. The possibility to get somewhere, to make contact or to provide yourself with information is therefore a lot more difficult.
Consequences for children growing up in poverty
Children from low-income families go out less often than children with wealthier parents. They exercise less, take less music lessons and spend a day at the playground less often. These activities outside the home cost money, which is why these children, according to their parents, can participate less often in these activities. Children from a low-income threshold also invite friends less often, for example for a birthday, to play or to stay for dinner. A low income also affects school activities that require a personal contribution, such as a school trip, which children often have to pass by.
Addition to more recent data (source: Trouw)
The number of people living on an income below the poverty line will increase sharply from 2021, the Social Cultural Planning Office (SCP) and the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) report in a comprehensive report on the effects of Dutch poverty policy.
Currently, about 5,3 percent of the population (just under 900.000 inhabitants) lives on an income below the poverty line. That percentage will rise to 2021 percent between 2035 and 6,8, according to the gloomy forecast. An important side note is that the consequences of the corona crisis have not been taken into account, which, the researchers report, only make the results of this study even more relevant.
The poverty threshold applied by SCP is the so-called not-much-but-adequate budget, and ranges from a disposable income of 1135 euros per month for a single person to 2315 euros per month for a couple with three children.
Incentive to look for work
The planning agencies base their worrying conclusion largely on the annual cut in social assistance benefits introduced by the government in 2011. This measure is intended to encourage people on welfare to find work, because the income difference between work and benefits is widening every year.
If the reduction in social assistance benefits were to end next year instead of only in 2035, as is now intended, those entitled to benefits would run almost 50 percent less risk of a life in poverty, the researchers conclude. A disadvantage of this is that the incentive to look for work decreases.
“The purpose of the social assistance benefit is precisely to keep people out of poverty, but it is clear that this is not possible now,” says Gijsbert Vonk, professor of social security law at the University of Groningen.
Battle in the air
“The benefit amounts are too low and have been lagging behind the growth in prosperity for years. And the conditions for eligibility for social assistance are becoming increasingly strict, such as extra earnings that are cut from the benefit. ”
The calculation of the planning bureaus is a blow in the air, says professor Jan Rath of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and a specialist in poverty policy, because the crisis will undoubtedly add value. “From next year, the government will again have to make substantial cutbacks, regardless of all the other economic consequences of the corona crisis. I think the perspectives are only bleaker. ”
The researchers describe no fewer than forty, sometimes expensive, options with which the government can reduce poverty to a greater or lesser extent in the coming years. From increasing the child-related budget for families with at least three children to increasing the employed person's tax credit for employees with lower incomes.
Basic income and simplification of allowance system
In their report, the planning offices also outline a number of possible system changes that contribute to a reduction of poverty, such as the introduction of a basic income and a simplification of the allowance system.
If everyone were to receive a basic income, whereby the researchers calculate with a disposable income of 1235 euros per month for a single person, including care allowance, child-related budget and childcare allowance, poverty would decrease by 60 percent, is the expectation. However, the basic income costs a lot of money and causes a serious blow to employment.
“It is therefore not realistic that we are now making a rigorous switch to a basic income,” says Vonk. He expects a middle way, in which social assistance is increased and, above all, made easier to qualify for the benefit.
“Social assistance assumes that you are either working full-time or not. You exclude many groups, such as freelancers or part-timers, who do not earn too much, while perhaps they should also be partly entitled to it. We must move towards a system where you can combine work and partial benefits. And there are many other options that politicians and researchers are now considering. The call for changes to the benefit system is getting louder.