Poverty is not decreasing in France. This crude observation is made by the European statistical agency Eurostat which published it this Wednesday on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The public release of these data on the proportion of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU highlights the 109.2 million people still living in precarious situations. That is 21.7% of the population of the European Union.
"After three consecutive years of increases between 2009 and 2012 to reach almost 25%, the proportion of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU has since continuously decreased to 21.7% per annum. last, 2 percentage points below the 2008 baseline and 0.7 percentage point below the 2017 level, "states the EU statisticians' statement. The report shows that it is the newcomers within the Union who have made the most progress in their fight against poverty in recent years.
"RSA beneficiaries have not been declining for at least three years"
But these data, which cover the period 2008-2018, do not offer such a nice panorama for France. If as a percentage of the population the number of people at risk has decreased in a decade, losing a point of 18.5% to 17.4%, one of the lowest rates in Europe, it hides a less rosy reality. It is the figure of "risk of poverty after social transfers" which is valid for specialists because it includes access to social benefits.
And here, we are far from the cocorico! Since 2008, the hexagonal percentage of these poor people, despite the aid, has also increased by almost 12.5% to 13.4% of the population considered as poor (the evolution of these figures actually runs as far as to the consolidated figures of 2017).
"These statistics, they translate an increase all the more worrying that there is a improvement of the economy ", worries Louis Maurin, sociologist of the Observatory of inequalities, contacted by Le Parisien. "There are clear indicators. For example, the beneficiaries of the RSA have not been declining for at least three years, "says the specialist.
To be precise, the number of recipients of active solidarity income (RSA, 550.93 for a single person) has not decreased since the first months of 2017. At the end of March 2019, 1.84 million households were receiving this benefit, as much as two years ago. However, the reversal of the curve, recorded at the end of 2015, was quite clear. The number of RSA beneficiary households fell by 80,000 in 2016 (-5%).
2018, a rate still increasing?
"And there, the State has abolished the contracts helped, the figures may be even worse next year," alarmed the statistician. A trend that seems to be confirmed by INSEE, since the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies also, thanks to projection tools, a 0.6 point increase in the rate of poverty in France for the year 2018 proper.
"This increase could be explained in part by the decrease in housing benefits in the HLM park in 2018, living standards do not include the equivalent rent decrease. By neutralizing the effect of the fall in housing benefits in the social housing, this rise would be more moderate (+0.2 point), "says the national statistical institute.
"We are in a kind of stagnation, with very little growth, it always leaves on the edge of the road part of the already weakened population," continues Louis Maurin. Let's face it, public policies are not directed at the poorest. With 7 billion euros, we eliminate 5 million poor people in France, while, concretely, we made 30 billion euros of tax gifts. The employment policy does not follow either. There is no political ambition to revive employment, and this without trial of intent, "concludes the sociologist.
In this context, and for the record, in September 2018, Emmanuel Macron announced his "poverty plan", a series of measures that cover five major areas: early childhood, childhood, youth, support to employment and the social minima. But this plan budgeted to 8 billion euros by the government, whose effects are not expected before 3 years, is of course not yet taken into account by the statistical data.