On poverty, a mixed picture

Perhaps the ambition was too great. On September 13, 2018, Emmanuel Macron announced that he wanted “Eradicate extreme poverty within a generation” thanks to a whole new strategy. Instead of betting on the monetary effect of social minima, it was necessary to focus on preventing the reproduction of poverty from generation to generation and supporting people towards employment. Three years later, and with the five-year term soon coming to an end, where are we?

“On the ground, we do not see any real change for people living in poverty”, believes Christophe Devys, president of the Alert committee, which brings together associations fighting against exclusion. Certainly, “We cannot blame the government for the effects of the Covid crisis”, which halted many reforms and created new emergencies. Corn “We have the impression that the political ambition stopped a little earlier. “

One of the emblematic projects of the poverty strategy, the universal activity income, which was to merge a certain number of social minima, with the question of their opening to 18-25 year-olds, is at a standstill. “We are awaiting the report which must summarize the work”, indicates Marine Jeantet, the interministerial delegate for the prevention and the fight against poverty. This further postpones its implementation, so far envisaged in 2023.

In the absence of a global landing, the government has promised to expand the youth guarantee, which combines allowance and support, then to make it universal. But, decrypts Antoine Dulin, in charge of these subjects at the Youth Policy Orientation Council,“While everything seemed ready before the summer, Emmanuel Macron took over in July” on a system renamed “commitment income”, still in the process of arbitration. “I fear that the chosen device will no longer have anything of a right for young people who need it, which would nevertheless be a real tool for preventing poverty. », Continues Antoine Dulin.

Other projects have however advanced, despite the braking effect of the Covid-19 period. The report presented to the Council of Ministers shows progress concerning, in particular, support for people excluded from employment. While only 40% of RSA applicants benefited from it six months after their application, now 50% of them are referred in less than a month. And, thanks to support for integration through economic activity, the objective of reaching 240,000 employees in this sector should be met. In addition, despite the difficulties, the training obligation for all young dropouts aged 16 to 18 is being put in place.. “It is estimated that 90,000 people are affected and 65,000 are currently in solution”, assures Marine Jeantet. As for the promise to no longer put young people in the street when they turn 18, “There are still departments that do it”, observes Antoine Dulin. Finally, while 13% of children in priority education zones arrived at school hungry, the government estimates that 100,000 children now benefit from breakfasts served in establishments, i.e. as much as in 2019, but that ‘they should be 300,000 next year. Likewise, nearly 700 municipalities now benefit from State aid to set up school canteen meals for less than € 1.

“There have been measures but it seems all the same that everything that could relate to structural reforms to act in a profound way has been evacuated”, underlines Matthieu Angotti, one of the architects of the Holland mandate poverty plan. “Everything that is important has been decided outside of the poverty strategy”, specifies Christophe Devys.

This is the case for monetary measures decided before or outside this strategy, such as increasing the minimum old age, the disabled adult allowance, or the activity bonus. Or major reforms such as the zero charge rest for glasses, dental prostheses and hearing, or the duplication of CP or CE1 classes in priority education.

What’s more, “There were emergency social measures during the Covid, which have contributed to ensuring that there is no explosion of poverty ”, recalls Christophe Devys, including exceptional aid for low-income households, significant reinforcement of food aid, the “one young person, one solution” plan, the unprecedented creation of 40,000 places in emergency accommodation, as well as the announcement the end of the annual closure of beds created for the winter.


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