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France: Secours-Catholique publishes annual report. Poverty caused by pandemic “could become chronic”

“After two years of hardship, the COVID-19 crisis has affected the living conditions of the most vulnerable families increasing their poverty, as they also suffer the shock of inflation. This, in a nutshell, is what emerges from the “State of Poverty in France 2022”, the annual report by Secours Catholique-Caritas France released today. The findings and data on precariousness in the 168-page report are from the observations carried out on the national territory by the institution, which assisted 938,000 people in 2021. These people live on average on €548 a month, which is 50% below the poverty threshold; 60% of their income is spent on fixed costs; and they are left with €5 a day to live. This figure has fallen (from 0.50 cents to 1 euro) compared to the pre-pandemic period. Also, 22% of people assisted by Secours-Catholique have no income at all. The most vulnerable among the vulnerable are lonely women and foreigners with a pending legal status. The report also argues that “a proactive policy could eliminate extreme poverty in our country, but the measures taken so far have not benefited that section of the population that the COVID-19 crisis has made extremely vulnerable”. The poverty into which some households have been plunged “could become chronic, given the weight of fixed costs (particularly rent and energy) in their budgets”, costs that are rising due to the current inflation. The report also contains some political guidance for raising the living standards of the most vulnerable families.

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