Recent statistics published by the National Statistics office (NSO) show that through new social security measures, the amount of people living of social benefits has reduced drastically.
During a press conference early Thursday morning, Minister for Family, Children’s rights and Social Solidarity Micheal Falzon highlighted the impact measures put in place in 2013 have had on our society.
The measures put in place to entice people to work instead of living off social benefits were as follows; tapering of the benefits, In-work benefit and free childcare.
The problem of going back into the work force after receiving certain benefits was that the rise in money earned was negligible, the ministry said. Therefore through tapering of the benefits, throughout three years a person who went back into the workforce would have his benefits reduced partially throughout three years.
The in-work benefit is there for parents who have independent children up to 23 years of age. This measure is not only available for someone who went to work after receiving benefits but to all parents who fall under the criteria. Since it’s beginning, more than 78,400 families have benefitted from this and they took advantage of 16.5 million between them.
With regards to free child care, the parents who benefit from this are those who are either working full time or studying full time. The cost for one child to go to child care for a year is €4,000 and this expense is being alleviated from the shoulders of the parents. The number of children who make use of this scheme is 6,702.
During the pandemic the ministry introduced further measures to primarily help parents who had to leave work when schools closed in order to take care of their children. Schemes and measures were also created for people who according to the health authorities had to stay at home during critical months of the pandemic.
In 2020, €17 million was distributed to the families who made use of the covid-19 measures while in 2021 when they were re-introduced, €650,000 were allowed which signifies that there was a decrease in the amount of parents who had to leave work because of the closure of schools.
In his closing statement Falzon said that one of the most significant effects of all the measures mentioned above was the profound effect it had on the reduction of people at risk of poverty.
In 2013 42,210 people were considered as ‘severely materially deprived’ and through these measures the number in 2020 according to the latest NSO statistic, the figure stands at 16,636 which is a difference of almost 7%.