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Action on Poverty launches new campaign

The Action on Poverty group will commence a campaign today calling for the modernisation and reform of the Social Security system.

The community-based campaign will see campaigners distributing bilingual leaflets outside the ICC as from.

The group will set out the case for reform of what it considers an “outdated, unacceptably secretive and inadequate Social Security system”.

“Politicians cannot be allowed to dodge these issues anymore,” spokesman Felix Alvarez said.

‘‘It’s election time, and the political parties would like us to believe their manifesto promises in order to get our vote.”

“We’re glad to see that AOP’s on-going campaign has succeeded in ensuring that all the party manifestoes, though in varying degrees, have had to address the reality of economically vulnerable people in our society and the need for a Social Security system overhaul.”

“But not all manifestoes and promises are created equal in this regard, with some Parties, no matter how 'progressive', still trying to get away with putting off, side-lining or downright dodging the issues before the electorate.”

“This is far from a respectful democratic response to civil society and we’re hoping their public and electoral posture will be corrected.”

“We’re urging people to pay close attention to who is actually stepping up to the plate on these issues, and then vote accordingly. Because it’s not only their lives, but those of their children and grandchildren that are also affected,” Mr Alvarez added.

The group highlighted the forthrightness with which the GSD manifesto has tackled these issues.

“It stands out for having addressed them up front, without manoeuvres to avoid naming the problem in an attempt to bury it deep in other sections of their election Manifesto. And they have pointed out at least some of the solutions.”

As such, the GSD dedicates a whole section unambiguously headed ‘Social Security and Benefits Reform’ to identifying the problems, and in so doing adopts two core AOP Campaign demands; these being establishing a benchmark ‘Poverty Line’ below which no citizen must fall in order to guarantee a dignified living for all, whether in or out of work; and the systematic periodic review of same.”

But, the group said, the GSD’s approach is in stark contrast to the manner in which the question of poverty and the social security system’s reform has been “diverted, obfuscated, softened or minimised” elsewhere.

“All the parties bar none, and with a marked difference to other aspects of the policies they present in writing, fail to quantify or enumerate clear commitments beyond the very general. And in so doing they all fail to live up to their duty to serve all sectors of this community.”

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