Experts dub “unacceptable” Portugal’s two million living below breadline

With the budget under discussion, Portugal’s high-levels of poverty are back in the news with a panel of experts declaring it is time for a strategy to turn things round. Talking on RTP news, the panel made up of economists was discussing data showing how Portugal’s ‘austerity years’ (between 2009-2014) had pushed another 116,000 people – 25% of them children – into poverty, taking national numbers now to over 2 million.

Calling the situation “unacceptable”, the message of conference, entitled “The Economics of Poverty”, was that until national politics assumes responsibility for policies that consistently send people into a negative economic spiral, the problem cannot be tackled.

The way ahead, stressed the economists, is for a national ‘observatory on poverty’ with an active strategy to eradicate the problem.

As panelist Manuela Silva told RTP: “In the 21st century, with the resources we have, poverty should not be considered an inevitability”.