New approach needed to combat Dutch child poverty, says think-tank

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Some 60% of children in the Netherlands who officially live in poverty have at least one parent with a job, an influential government advisory group said on Thursday.

This means that the families often do not benefit from special provisions aimed at the very poorest in society, even though they have trouble making ends meet, the Social and Economic Council (SER) said.

Between 8% and 12% of children in the Netherlands are said to live in poverty, depending on the definition.

As 60% of these children have working parents, the approach to helping them needs to change, SER said in a recommendation to the new government. For example, local authorities should appoint a specific official to try to quantify the problem and to improve the often complicated forms which need to be filled in to apply for help.




At the same time, poverty would appear to be structural, and there has been no reduction in the number of poor children despite a string of initiatives, SER said.

Definition

The number of children growing up in long-term poverty has gone up 7% to 125,000 national statistics office CBS said in February. Most of them are living in one-parent families or in families which rely on welfare benefits.

The CBS considers a single person to be poor if they have an income of below €1,030 a month for at least four years. The figure for a couple with two children is €1,930.

The government’s socio-economic policy unit SCP said last year that in 2007, 850,000 people lived below the poverty line but by 2013 that had increased to 1.25 million, out of a population of 17 million.

The SCP defines poverty as having less than enough money to provide for basic living needs and to participate in society – this puts it at around €1,000 a month for a single person.


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