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Action on Poverty sets out wish list for Govt

The newly-formed Action on Poverty group formed to tackle poverty on the Rock will be handing a list of requests to the Government this afternoon.

The group said this list will help the Government to “begin combating an inadequate and out-of-date Social Security system whose reform is long overdue”.

“In a wealthy GDP society like Gibraltar, no one should fall below the poverty line at any time,” Action on Poverty added.

Action on Poverty is an umbrella group that includes the Equality Rights Group, Unite the Union’s Community Branch, the Private Sector Workers and Pensioners Association, the Divorced Woman’s Group and the Unite Equalities Committee.

“Social Security must not be about charity and handouts, but about prevention and protection,” Action on Poverty said.

“It must be grounded in people’s statutory responsibilities, rights and entitlements for everyone, not hidden discretionary payments that are all too easily open to uneven application at best.”

While the group has welcomed the Government’s recent announcement to move on legislation to facilitate private sector pensions, it says this represents a “small fraction” of the overall poverty issue and the role that the social security system plays in failing citizens.

Some of the demands the group will be put forward by the group will include the modernisation of the Social Security by “consolidating the many piecemeal statutes currently in place under one piece of legislation”.

The group is also calling for a reorientation of Social Security towards entitlement in law and a Social Security framework of benefits that bears a realistic relation to living with dignity in the Gibraltar of today.

In addition, Action on Poverty is calling for all details on benefits to be published, the adoption by Government on formal poverty lines below which individuals in Gibraltar will not be permitted to fall, addressing discrepancies for private sector pensioners and divorced women, and the publication of a Households Below Average Income as a check to maintain decent living standards.

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