Minimum subsistence benefit rises
Belgium's poorest can look forward to a little extra this year
3 January 2008 - There is good news for people on the breadline. Belgium's minimum subsistence benefit is being increased by 2% this month.
To take account of inflation a further 2% is also being added.
Social Integration Minister Christian Dupont announced the rise last Monday.
Some 78,000 people are currently on minimum subsistence benefit.
In future singles will receive just over 683 euros a month.
Members of a couple each get nearly 912 euros.
Despite the rise people on this benefit will still be below the poverty line.
Catching up under Verhofstadt
Since the start of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's first administration in 1999 minimum subsistence benefit has steadily been on the rise.
It's argued that a single needs 822 euros a month to get by without living in poverty.
After a fall in the numbers on this benefit that started in 2000 figures are once again on the rise.
There has also been a regional shift.
The number of claimants has fallen in Flanders and Wallonia, but has risen in Brussels.
More and more women are today among the claimants.
Half of all claimants are single mothers or fathers.