Far too few families on the poverty line benefit from government support

by Lorraine Williamson
families benefit system unfair

Government support intended for school-age children from poor families needs to be better targeted. More than half of the children who need it most miss out on the allowance. Meanwhile 13% of children from rich families benefit from it. 

This is evident from a study by Esade Centre for Economic Policy (EsadeEcPol). In the research report published today, EsadeEcPol advocates a more equal distribution of support. This would enable the poorest children to benefit most from it. A minimum amount should also be set for the whole of Spain. This could then be further increased by the individual regional governments. 

60% miss out on support 

The study looked at all possible subsidies for families with school-age children, from subsidies for school books to school transport. The target group is divided into five, according to the income level of the parents. It was concluded that there is a certain progressivity, but that the current distribution of support still leaves much to be desired. As many as 60% of school-age children from the poorest families miss out on government support. 

Of the children from the lowest income group, 41.3% benefit from at least one of the available government allowances. For the group above that, it is 30.4%. In the third and middle group, 22% receive an allowance, in the fourth group 22.8% and in the richest group this is still 13.2%. 

Cogesa Expats

The fact that there are still too many families who are entitled to government support, but nevertheless do not benefit from it, does not only occur in Spain. According to various studies by the European Commission, this is a well-known phenomenon throughout Europe. 


In Spain, families on the poverty line often miss out on support. This is due to ignorance of its existence, how to apply or because of shame about the label ‘poor’. According to Save the Children Spain, when it comes to contributing to school meals alone, more than a million eligible children miss out on this allowance. 

At the start of the new school year, the costs for families with school-age children amount to €100 for toddlers, €210 for preschoolers, €328 for primary school students, €398 for lower secondary school students and €474 for upper secondary school students. 

Also read: A quarter of Spain´s population at risk of social exclusion due to poverty


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