French charity Secours Catholique released stark evidence of growing poverty in France
Rabat – French charity Secours Catholique has published a report highlighting the rapid decline of living standards and the growth of poverty in France. Many are left “unable to breathe financially,” as poverty leaves many in France with “impossible choices.”
Household budgets are shrinking rapidly, according to Secours Catholique’s “State of Poverty in France 2020” report. The eye-opening report, released on Thursday, reveals how more than half of French households are left with €9 per household member per day. With poverty increasing, 4 out of 10 households are unable to cover daily food expenses.
Millions in despair
Wages have not kept up with rising living expenses according to the Catholic charity. The welfare state, meanwhile, has been unable to keep up with poverty that is “getting worse every year,” according to the charity’s president, Veronique Fayet.
Fayet told French newspaper Le Figaro that the poorest in France are increasingly getting into debt in order to survive. “Everyone seems to ignore it, or worse, get used to it,” she stated. Her charity’s data corroborates France’s national statistics institute in its estimate that 10 million people in France are living below the poverty line.
She also urged French authorities and citizens to invest in protecting the weakest in society, including young people, the unemployed, retired and single-parent families that are struggling for basic survival. Secours Catholique highlighted that France’s Ministry of Health has predicted that by the end of 2020, 8 million French people living in poverty will require food aid to avoid going hungry.
The charity tells of a “silent tragedy” witnessed daily by its volunteers across the country. The charity receives 1.4 million requests for help each year as people simply do not have sufficient income to pay for even the most basic necessities.
People in poverty are forced to “constantly juggle, find solutions” the charity explained. “With 2 to 9 € left over to live per day and per person, who would be able to make ends meet?” The charity states that society has little but a “guilt-inducing gaze” for those living in poverty.
For Secours Catholique, the state is simply not providing people with the support they need. In the midst of a health crisis, people facing poverty in France required assistance that never materialized. The Catholic charity urges the government to strengthen safety nets, increase the minimum wage, and provide access to “decent housing and food.”
France’s poverty levels are currently eight times that witnessed in the 1980s, which the charity considers a “national shame.” The difference between native and immigrant people in France is stark. Immigrants face indefinite “administrative hazards” even while having no financial resources.
They face poverty from a precarious legal status, with 60% of foreign interviewees stating they have no stable legal status. Immigrants that come for countries that do not qualify for refugee status are facing the largest trouble acquiring legal status. These immigrants come primarily from sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern (Non-EU) Europe, and the Maghreb.
Nearly a third of children of immigrants without legal status in France face a precarious future, according to the charity.
It notes that the proportion of foreigners in France has increased only slightly. And yet a growing number depend on charity as the state fails to address their poverty. The precarious nature of immigrant life facing poverty means many have their life “suspended indefinitely.”
“This situation is a shame in our rich country!” the charity states. Despite the precarious nature of life for millions of French citizens, politicians continue to push xenophobia and anti-immigration narratives to explain declining living standards.
Those facing the worst poverty in France are demonized as the guilty party by the powerful who shaped the economy and reduced the social benefits that would have prevented such a “national shame.”