02/10/2015 – Fintan Farrell, Coordinator for the EMIN Project and European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Project officer is attending today the 13th ETUC Congress #ETUC15. On behalf of the EMIN Project, its partners and EAPN, he congratulates the organisation for adopting an action plan in favour of an EU Framework Directive on Adequate Minimum Income Schemes. “This is great step forward. Congratulations to Claudia Menne for her careful and considered handling of this issue. It is just one of her legacies from her time as Confederal Secretary“, he said. Continue reading
The level of basic social security in Finland has improved both in real terms and compared to the wages in 2011–2015, but it is not adequate to cover reasonable minimum costs determined in reference budgets. Reforms in benefit and tax legislation during 2011–2015 have decreased the income inequalities and the poverty risk. This was the conclusion of the second expert group for evaluation of the adequacy of basic social security whose report is now released in English. While welcoming the minor improvements in 2011-2015, the key question for social NGOs is how is it going to be in 2015-2019.
The report is the result of an internationally exceptional piece of legislation which entered into force in Finland in 2010. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have to commission every fourth year an evaluation of the development of the adequacy of basic social security from an independent evaluation group. The first evaluation report was released in 2011 and it generated international interest among researchers and experts, which indicated the need to make the report available to English as well. The second evaluation report was released in February 2015 and is now available in English.
Adequacy of basic social security in Finland 2011–2015. The second expert group for evaluation of the adequacy of basic social security. Kela Research Department. Working papers 80/2015. 143 pages. Helsinki 2015. ISSN 2323-9239.
New Eurofound study on non-take-up (or ‘non-give-out’) of social benefits may be of interest to you. This study identifies recent estimates of non-take-up in 16 Member States that vary considerably in terms of welfare state design. The study argues that it is likely that non-take-up is also an issue in the other 12 Member States. Estimates suggest that in each of the Member States identified, there is at least one type of benefit for which over one-third of people who are entitled to it do not receive it. Non-take-up is an issue for a broad range of benefits and is not restricted to those that are means-tested. This focus on non-take-up and the extent of non-take-up in comparison to miss use of social benefits, is very useful to counteract populists stories of exploitation of social benefits. Access the report at
In 2015, as part of the ‘DRIVERS for Health Equity’ project, led by EuroHealthNet, EAPN published a report, ‘synthesis of case-study evidence on income and social protection support and its links to health inequalities’. The report was produced with the Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Authored by Fiona McHardy with Olle Lundberg, this research undertook a case study approach exploring in a comparative country context, the impact of social protection system, both operations and provisions, on health inequality, in Hungary, Poland, UK, Sweden and Portugal. The research evidence indicated that income inadequacy was a core issue impacting individuals across the countries within the research and this often had negative impacts on their lives as subsistence did not allow them to meet their needs including health needs. The publication also includes a very useful EAPN toolkit on how to develop focus groups (Annex 2 – Page 31). Open the Report and Toolkit here
On 30 June 2015 the global audience became a witness to a major policy shift within the World Bank Group—for the first time it explicitly endorsed universal social protection as a primary development priority. The joint statement issued in Geneva by the heads of the two global agencies—by the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and ILO Director General Guy Rider — called the attention of world leaders to the importance of universal social protection and financing.
To read more see article Universal Social Protection ICSW Newsletter July 2015
The Social Platform in its letter to President Juncker, sent in the context of the forthcoming second orientation debate on social policy reiterates its call for: “Adequate minimum income schemes of at least 60% of national median income to protect people against poverty across the life-cycle, linked to reference budgets that capture real needs in relation to access to goods and services. Member States should be supported in the progressive realisation of such schemes, including through an EU framework directive”.
You can read the full letter here Social Platform letter EC college orientation debate on its social policy
Information from Jo Bothmer, EAPN Netherlands
In the Netherlands the DSS of the City of Utrecht, and it looks like the city of Tilburg as well, wants to set up an experiment with, what in the press is called, a Basic Income. Aim is to simplify the regulations for social assistance for certain groups. There will be 3 different groups within this experiment. One will get different, new, ruling. One will get less ruling and one group will have no rules at all. The last group is seen as the group with a Basic Income. But the experiment is however not about the Basic Income. It is meant to see which approach is the most successful.
This experiment is done under the new Participation law, in which those who ask for or already have social assistance are meant to go for a quid pro quo. The service in return for income should be voluntary work or helping neighbours who need special care. You may be also ‘forced’ into a ‘project’ for this quid pro quo.
The fact that municipalities start this kind of Basic Income experiments puts the idea of the BI in the middle of the discussion. EAPN NL is a member of the working group “Poverty and Social Exclusion” of the 35 cities with over 100.000 inhabitants. So we take part in the discussion. We brought in two things which we felt that should be taken into account:
- what definition is used for Basic Income? We see how each group uses it own definition.
- The fact that EMIN exist and offers a lot of information about minimum income.
Seen the overwhelming reactions, Utrecht has made very clear in a statement, which was published yesterday, that their experiment can be called a Basic Income, but that this is not what the experiment is about.
We are looking forward how this develops further.