Poverty in Antwerp up by 20 percent
Number of people that have applied for welfare has increased by 20 percent in the first three months of 2008.22 July 2008
BELGIUM – The number of people that have applied for social services in Antwerp has risen by 20 percent in the first three months of 2008.
During the first quarter of this year, the number of destitute that came knocking on the door of the local OCMW rose by 2,244 each month. Because of the high demand; they had to wait longer to receive their first allowance.
According to a social services spokesman, the increase may be due to the rising number of applications for the fuel subsidies. Simultaneously, the number of referrals to other welfare institutions rose as well.
Social services in Antwerp try to deal with the huge number of applications with all possible expedition.
Meanwhile, the waiting time for applications has risen above the average of 25 days.
The number of the people living on a basic income allowance has gone up again, confirming earlier scientific research that poverty in Antwerp is on the increase.
Dutch do better
According to recent figures by the Centre for Social Policy (CSB), poverty in the Netherlands has dropped to 10 to 12 percent. In Belgium, on the other hand, poverty figures rose to almost 15 percent. For many years, the figures for both countries were on a par.
According to the CSB, Belgium’s poor result is not due to lesser efforts. A considerable amount of the available budget goes to unemployment benefits or benefits for those that have stepped into an early retirement system.
In the Netherlands, people work longer and there are less of them on the dole. Earlier figures showed that poverty among the elderly and old-age pensioners dropped in the whole of Europe but not in Belgium.
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]