After several postponements, the government presents its plan against poverty

While many French people weakened by inflation struggle to find housing, food or even healthcare, the government unveiled a new plan to fight poverty on Monday. It notably provides for free breakfasts at school or even a return to work bonus. Measures which go “in the right direction”, but which remain “insufficient”, according to associations fighting against precariousness, which are calling for an increase in social minimums.

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After eight months of successive postponements, the government finally unveiled its new strategy to combat poverty on Monday, September 18, a plan that was particularly anticipated in a context of high inflation.

“For housing, for health, for access to education or employment, sometimes even for food, poverty is a daily challenge for all those who face it,” commented the First Minister, Élisabeth Borne, during a speech presenting this plan to association leaders.

This new program to combat poverty, which takes up a certain number of measures from the previous plan on the subject, intends to “respond to the urgency of the current social situation” and “correct structural inequalities”, she explained. , in the presence of many ministers.

Four axes for a “solidarity pact”

Prevention of poverty from childhood, return to employment, fight against exclusion and measures to ensure that the ecological transition does not weigh too heavily on the most deprived: the “solidarity pact” is broken down into four main areas. However, many measures have been announced previously.

Please note, the government is planning specific measures for overseas territories, which are particularly affected by poverty.

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The new plan must include a “50% increase in credits dedicated to the fight against poverty compared to the previous strategy”, the Prime Minister also indicated. Launched in 2018, the previous plan was allocated 8 billion euros over four years.

Scalded by the various postponements of a plan which was initially to be presented last January, the associations were cautious before its presentation, with certain actors in fact fearing a catalog of measures already known.

“The government must show that it is aware of what is happening in terms of poverty and precariousness,” declared the president of the Federation of Solidarity Actors (FAS), Pascal Brice. .

9.2 million people affected by poverty

Among the measures already announced and which appear in the pact, the creation of a “colo pass” for CM2 children and the creation of 200,000 nursery places by 2030 aim to fight against poverty in childhood . To this end, the government also plans to continue the distribution of free breakfasts in certain schools.

“Our model must allow social advancement and I have one conviction: it is through work that we get through it,” emphasized Élisabeth Borne.

Measures such as the return to work bonus aim to encourage a return to work.

Maintaining the 203,000 existing emergency accommodation places is also part of the pact, as is the second five-year “Housing First” plan, the objective of which is to support homeless people into housing.

Measures which go “in the right direction”, but judged “largely insufficient” by the associations fighting against precariousness, which call in particular for an increase in social minimums, an increase in housing assistance (APL) and the regularization of workers without -papers in sectors in tension.

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Measures such as the continued distribution of energy checks to the poorest, as well as the strengthening of the MaPrimeRenov’ system complete this plan.

Poverty affects some 9.2 million people, or nearly 15% of the French population according to INSEE – the poverty threshold is set at 60% of the population’s median standard of living. More than one in ten people cut corners on heating, food, various products and services.

In this context, also marked by high inflation, requests are pouring in from food aid distributors, leading associations to the brink of collapse, such as the Restos du Cœur which raised a cry of alarm at the beginning of September.

With AFP


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