One in three children in Spain lives at risk of poverty, the international charity Save the Children said in a report. The charity said austerity measures and cutbacks in public spending had worsened the situation and said the number of under-18s “at risk of poverty or marginalization”, an official EU measure of various aspects of economic hardship - soared to more than 2.8 million in 2012.
That was equivalent to 33.8% of Spain’s children, according to a report from Save the Children that used the latest official European Union data. The charity cited cases of families scraping by on low salaries, dwindling welfare payments and charity food hand outs.
The charity said there was no lack of good will and intention to tackle childhood poverty, but that more public spending was required.
The conservative government that took power in late 2011 imposed tough public spending cuts in its efforts to stabilize Spain’s public finances, under pressure from European authorities.
“Austerity policies are considerably worsening the situation,” Save the Children said in its report. They are “constraining still further the already limited capacity of the social welfare system to give an adequate response to the needs of children and families in economic difficulty”, it added.
“The state has an obligation to act as guarantor of the rights these girls and boys are entitled to, an obligation at an international level, defined in human rights treaties.”
Spain has started to recover slowly from it second recession in five years, but the unemployment rate remains high at more than 26%, with nearly six million Spaniards out of work.