Unemployment and cuts in wages and social benefits are hurting the most vulnerable members of Portuguese society, according to the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe is concerned about the increasing poverty among children and the elderly in Portugal because of the effect of austerity measures, implemented to meet deficit reduction targets imposed by the Troika of the IMF, EU and European Central Bank in returns for international loans.
The Commissioner for Human Rights, who visited Portugal in May, said austerity measures applied in 2010 and 2011 increased the risk of poverty among children. Unemployment and cuts in wages and social benefits were a key reason children are relying in increasing numbers on the support of charities and other non-governmental organisations, the commissioner’s report also found.
It also stated that as a result of the government’s austerity measures the elderly have been squeezed between a fall in income and welfare benefits on the one hand, and increases in health care costs, public transport, gas, electricity and food on the other.