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SP wants to work with businesses to fight poverty

29 November 2006 – ZuiderAmstel is the richest district, but here too thousands of people live in poverty. At the initiative of the Socialist Party (SP), the problem will be investigated. The party wants to enlist the support of the business community to prevent schoolchildren missing breakfast.

“I think the council deserves a compliment”, said SP party leader Gerrit Herders, who jointly with the Social-Democrats and the Christian-Democrats introduced a motion asking for a poverty study. The administration was against such a study, but the council unanimously supported the motion. “After some debate, even the Conservative VVD was behind it”.

The district said a study was unnecessary because O+S already publishes a Poverty Monitor every year. However, Herders claims that hidden poverty is underreported in this monitor. The data are limited to people who have applied for support from the municipality.

Meanwhile, the SP has started its own investigation, interviewing representatives of schools, organisations of the elderly and social work. They were told that quite a few children go to school each day without having had breakfast. The party wants to work with the business community to make sure these kids will have breakfast from now on.

In addition, Herders finds that the district might very well give financial support to people who live in extreme poverty. This should not be a problem, according to Herders, given the millions of euros the district spends each year. So far, it is highly unusual for districts to give financial support to the poor.

At city level, the SP earlier started an investigation into poverty and experiences with the social assistance agency. The ZuiderAmstel investigation is unrelated to this. However, the outcomes will be passed on to the SP representatives on the city council.

The Poverty Monitor reports that almost 12% of households in ZuiderAmstel live in poverty, and that this percentage is dropping relatively fast. In Bos en Lommer, the percentage is almost twice as high.


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