Spanish government to spend €200 million on fight against child poverty
The Spanish government is set to distribute almost €200 million across the country to combat child poverty and support families, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez announced at a press conference this week.
The aid, which totals €198 million, was approved on Tuesday in a Council of Ministers meeting and forms part of Spain’s Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda’s 2030 programme. It will be rolled out jointly with Spain’s Territorial Council for Social Services and the System for Autonomy and Care for Dependency (SAAD).
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The money will be spent on three main issues: child poverty and family protection, the reinforcement of child and family care, and providing cash boosts to local social services.
A third of the amount, €65 million, will be allocated to child poverty care and family support programmes. A total €50 million to finance projects aimed at socially vulnerable families with a focus on basics like food, hygiene, clothing, as well as improving access to healthcare, education, housing and job opportunities.
While €15 million will be spent on Spain’s school vacation program, known as VECA, which provides summer camps and cultural and leisure activities to vulnerable children, as well as guaranteeing healthy and balanced diets during the summer holidays.
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Another €25 million will reinforce child and family care teams in primary care social services, and the rest, €108.7 million, will be allocated to basic benefits and social services.
Child poverty is a serious problem in Spain. According to Spanish daily El País, over two million children were living below the poverty line before the pandemic broke out, 27.3 percent of all children in Spain. In Europe, only Romania and Bulgaria have a higher proportion.
Similarly, according to a recent study released by the University of Alcalá (Madrid) and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, almost one in four Spanish children and teenagers live in ‘chronic poverty’, a problem that has grown by more than 70 percent between 2006 and 2016.
“Child poverty in Spain has become much more chronic than it was at the beginning of this century,” said Olga Cantó, Professor of Economic Analysis at the University of Alcalá and one of the authors of the report.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez described the findings of the report as “devastating”, and lamented the “terrible injustice that the destiny of a human being is marked in advance by where he or she is born into the world”.
Sánchez and the Spanish government hope that this latest tranche of funding will help to alleviate some of the child poverty plaguing Spanish society, and though the funds are to be shared across the Spanish regions, they will not be distributed evenly.
Andalusia: €35,943, 414
Balearic Islands: €5,022,151
Canary Islands: €9,822,113
Castilla y León: €12,461,794
Castilla-La Mancha: €10,368,554
La Rioja: €3,017,975