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Brussels helps Luxembourg provide food for poorest

Brussels helps Luxembourg provide food for poorest

by Heledd PRITCHARD 2 min. 23.08.2021
Luxembourg is one of world's wealthiest countries - but more than 71,600 people cannot pay most basic needs
Street in the Gare area of Luxembourg
Street in the Gare area of Luxembourg
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

(This article was corrected to state the programme's total budget was €3.8 billion in paragraph three)

Luxembourg will receive €460,000 from Brussels to help provide food and essentials such as clothes to a growing number of people who have been unable to afford such basic needs since the start of the pandemic.

The money will come from the European Commission’s Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) programme, aimed at providing basic needs such as food, clothes and toiletries to the poorest households across the EU.

The programme has been in place since 2014, rolling out €3.8 billion to help countries support their most deprived. Countries receiving the funding have to chip in 15% in addition to the Commission’s contribution.

Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in the world, yet more than 71,600 people in the Grand Duchy have relied on the funding to receive their most basic needs over the past seven years. 

Since the start of the pandemic, more people need help and the Commission will now give Luxembourg a further €460,000 to cover the additional requests. “The extra funds will help meet the increased needs for food support due to the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic,” a Commission press release stated.

No heating, no phone

The €3.8 million budget for the programme was initially scheduled to cover the period between 2014 and 2020 but therthe Commission has decided to stretch its funding to help countries until 2022 because of the pandemic.

Having access to the most basic needs is a precondition for people to be able to be able to get a job or follow a training course, the Commission website states, and in turn could be the first step to help people out of poverty. 

National authorities can either buy the food and goods themselves and distribute them to charities and other organisations or grant the money to the organisations for them to buy the items.

People with so-called ‘severe material deprivation’ cannot pay costs such as rent, heating, consuming enough protein or buying a washing machine or a telephone, Luxembourg’s statistics office, Statec, said on its website.

While some are unable to put a roof over their heads, Luxembourg’s housing market is soaring, reaching a level where the average household spends 35% of its income on housing, an employee lobby group said earlier this year. Single-parent families and couples with more than three children were at particular risk of falling into poverty due to the growing prices, the group said.

In a June survey, only 19% of participants living in Luxembourg thought the government was doing a good job on reducing poverty in the country.

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