In Malta, people at risk of poverty went down from 24.6% in 2013 to 20.1% last year

In 2018, in Malta around 8.1% of the population was living at risk of poverty, which amounts to 7.4% less than the European average.

Poverty in Malta was under the microscope on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty , with Minister Michael Falzon saying that poverty was reduced thanks to measures announced by the Government in the Budget. Minister Carmelo Abela said that the Government has committed itself to address the social sector and the pandemic which has gripped society in its vice.

Official figures show how the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion went down from 24.6% in 2013 to 20.1% in 2019. The Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity Michael Falzon said that last year there were around 18,000 people who live in a state of severe poverty and slightly more than 40,000 people who are materially lacking in basic things.

Minister Falzon said that despite the fact that these figures remain a challenge because the Government does not want anyone to live in this state, it represents one-third of those who were materially and severely lacking in basic items in 2013. Dr Falzon attributed this success to various factors which he said have been effective, thanks to the policy implemented by the Government.

“Undoubtedly, one policy was the increase in pensions which in this budget will be the sixth one, and you also had a reduction in electricity and water tariffs, medicines became more available and then you have the other end of the spectrum, of children and the workplace. Free childcare, free transport, and more and more participation in the workplace,” he pointed out.

The Minister within the Office of the PM, Carmelo Abela, said that the Government is working to strengthen education and to create programmes based on the social sector where assistance is being increased where required.  Questioned about the impact of Covid,  Minister Abela said the Government is combating the repercussions which the pandemic is leaving in every way possible.

“Obviously the pandemic has not helped in the issue of the working poor, and in fact it has placed greater burdens and challenges on these workers and their families. The Government is being careful with the measures it has taken over the last few months so that the covid wage supplement can also be extended,” said Minister Abela.

He added that when it comes to severe poverty the UN gave a score of 99.9% to the progress which Malta has registered to eradicate all forms of poverty by 2030.