Spain makes record investment to fight child poverty

by Lorraine Williamson
child poverty new measures introduced
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MADRID – More than 2 million children in Spain live in poverty. 400,000 of which are in extreme poverty. After a UNICEF presentation on child poverty in Europe, Spain announced a record investment to halve child poverty by 2030. 

Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra calls child poverty rates unacceptable. She intends to combat this problem with a record investment of €779 million until 2027. Before the pandemic, Spain was the third country in the European Union with the highest child poverty rate (27.4%). Only Romania and Bulgaria had a worse record.

Pandemic increases child poverty in Europe 

A report prepared by UNICEF and researchers from the CSIC was presented to the European Commission on Wednesday. While not all results are available, there is every indication the pandemic has only exacerbated child poverty and widened inequality. 

European child guarantee desperately needed in Spain 

That is why a so-called Child Guarantee was proclaimed in Europe in September. The aim of the Guarantee was to prevent poverty and social exclusion of children in need. It is then up to each country how to spend the money from the available European funds. The Spanish government is expected to have an action plan for the next five years to reduce child poverty by March 2022. 

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The ‘Garantía Infantil Europea’ program in Spain aims to ensure that all children have free access to basic services such as education and care, extracurricular activities, at least one healthy meal on a school day, health care, housing, and healthy food. 

Spain has not been able to reduce poverty for 10 years 

Minister Belarra spoke at a European Commission event in Spain that children living in poverty is one of Spain’s biggest failures as a country. Spain has failed to reduce this situation for 10 years. According to the minister, it cannot only be solved by giving families extra money, so they want to invest in these basic facilities so that every child in Spain can benefit from this from birth. 

Spanish government will present measures in March 

The implementation of the child guarantee will be discussed by the minister within the Spanish government in November. One of the measures is a package of support measures for the first three years after the birth of a child. The government aims to reduce the number of children living in poverty by at least half by 2030, double spending on early childhood education and care, and implement more allowances for families. 

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