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    Investments in public services to fight poverty

    Public services have a crucial role to play in the fight against poverty, reveals the bi-annual report from the National Service for the fight against poverty, precariousness, and social exclusion, which was released on Tuesday. The impact of new legislation on poverty and hence, on human rights, needs to be systematically assessed, according to the organisation.

    Public services (health, justice, education, welfare…) are more and more subject to conditions and testing. The right to use public services is now considered a ‘luxury,’ deplores the Service for the fight against poverty.

    For example, “tougher legislation regarding social integration benefits means many job seekers are excluded, of which some never reach the Public Social Assistance Centre.”

    People facing poverty suffer inequality when trying to access to basic rights, says the organisation. “They are tested more often, are less comfortable with a digital environment, struggle more to find information…”

    Françoise De Boe, Coordinator, thinks public services are too often viewed in terms of costs, “when we should be talking of investment in the future of children, in the commute to a job, in cultural inclusion…”

    The Service for the fight against poverty pleads for services which are “meant for all and easy to access, with supplementary measures adapted to those who need them.” Françoise De Boe suggests a “progressive minimal income level” which would help take into account various poverty levels and avoid “all or nothing” terms.

    The full report can be found here.

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)