1 in 5 Catalans live in poverty

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, NGOs ask the Government to focus on policies that reduce social exclusion.

CNA / Sarah Garrahan

October 18, 2010 11:44 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- 19% of the population in Catalonia, or 1 in 5 Catalans, live in poverty. The immigrant population represents 25% of this. In the whole of Spain, 1 in 4 people, a total of 9 million, do not have the sufficient resources to live. In Europe, 17% of the population, some 90 million people, live in poverty. Around the world, 1,020 million people suffer from malnutrition. The Catalan Confederation of NGOs are profiting from the electoral climate to demand that the Government not cut corners on “more responsible, social and solidarity” policy-making. Actors Julio Manrique and Sílvia Bel stated this in a demonstration in Barcelona’s Plaça de Sant Jaume, the centre of political power for Barcelona and Catalonia.

The demonstration, sponsored by the Catalan Confederation of NGOs, presented citizens with the opportunity to symbolically vote for 10 proposals intended to combat this social phenomenon. For the action, a large urn was placed in the middle of Plaça Sant Jaume. “I am voting to eradicate poverty, because I think it is completely unfair that some people have many things and others are dying of famine’, said Anna Vicente, one of the demonstration’s participants. 

Francesc Mateu, president of the Catalan confederation of NGOs, told CNA that the means to stop poverty exist, but that “political will is missing”. He added that “over 1,200 people around the world live on less than 30 euros a day”.

Actors Julio Manrique and Sílvia Bel read a manifesto by the NGOs demanding that political parties “publicly commit to not cutting social expenses in Catalonia”. They also called for an increase in Catalan international cooperation as the proposed budget for cooperation for the next legislature represents only 0.7%. On the other hand, many entities have denounced that the crisis is increasing poverty and that “a vulnerable population is growing all over the world”. In the meantime, states have helped banks with 8.4 billion dollars, 70 times more than what goes to developing countries. And the banks still have not paid back 2.7 billion, money that would eradicate world poverty by 4 times. “Those that did not provoke the crisis cannot pay for it”, they said.