Minister promises to cut poverty on islands in half

Dutch Min­ister for Poverty Policy, Pen­sions and Participation Car­ola Schouten confirmed on Wednesday that she has the intention to halve poverty in general and poverty among children in Bonaire, St. Eu­statius and Saba.

“I have the ambition for the Caribbean Netherlands, just as for the European part of the Netherlands, to cut pov­erty and children’s poverty in half at least,” the minister stated in a letter to the Sec­ond Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

Carola Schouten, minister voor Armoedebeleid, Participatie en Pensioenen

The letter and the at­tached implementation plan to tackle money problems, poverty and debt mainly ad­dressed the Netherlands, but Schouten did mention the Caribbean Netherlands and confirmed her commitment to the islands.

In the Netherlands, the minister intends to cut the number of people living in poverty in half by 2030, to halve the number of children growing up in poverty by 2025 and to reduce the num­ber of households with prob­lematic debt by 50% in 2030. For the Caribbean Nether­lands, she mentioned no spe­cific target dates to reduce poverty. As for the tackling of problematic household debt, she stated that she would discuss the scope of this issue with the public en­tities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in 2023, and get a better view of it before de­termining a concrete objec­tive.

To tackle poverty on the islands, the Dutch govern­ment has allocated fund­ing to organise breakfast at schools and it has made fi­nancial means available for a package to support people’s purchasing power with the current inflation and in­creased cost of living.

Money will be available for activities that contribute to tackling money problems, poverty and debt on the is­lands. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour SZW paid 0.8 million euros in 2022 for these activities, and this amount will increase to 2.5 million euros in 2023. From 2025 to 2027, a struc­tural amount of five million euros per year has been re­served.

Additional funding has been allocated for flanking (social) policy in the Carib­bean Netherlands in 2023 to the tune of one million euros. Research has proven that 40% of the people on the islands live below the poverty line, and a lot of peo­ple with jobs have trouble making ends meet, a group commonly referred to as the working poor.

The Daily Herald.

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