Extra cash for 600 poor families to help escape poverty trap

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In total 300 low-income families in Amsterdam are to be given an extra €150 a month over the next two years as part of research into the impact of living below the breadline.

The plan, which will give each household an extra €1,800 a year, follows research that found the minimum wage and social security benefits are not enough for a family to live on.

The research project will look at the impact of extra money on family spending patterns. To qualify, households must be based in the districts of Nieuw-West, Noord and Zuidoost, must rely on welfare benefits and have at least one child under the age of 18 living at home.


The extra money will not impact other benefits and will not lead to families losing other support, such as the cancellation of local taxes. 

“Families living in poverty suffer from more stress, health issues and mental health problems because of their continual financial worries,” said city anti-poverty chief Marjolein Moorman. “The extra cash, which has no strings attached, will give these families more grip on their lives.”

In Tilburg and Zaanstad, a total of 300 families will also receive the additional cash as part of the project.

Last year the national ombudsman called on the government to increase basic welfare payments, standardise systems and make sure people are aware of all the help they are entitled to in an effort to help more people out of poverty.

Increases in the minimum wage and benefits will only help to a limited extent and ‘as long as people are in financial trouble, they cannot work on their future’, Reinier van Zutphen said.

About one million Dutch people live on an income around the social minimum, which the ombudsman’s office defined at the time as around €1,300 for a single person and €1,760 for a couple.

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