Around 170,000 Italian families were notified via cell phone messages that the Italian minimum income program, Renda de Cidadania (Basic income), in force since 2019 in Italy, will cease to exist. This ends the initiative in which the State offers families in poverty amounts of up to 780 euros a month (equivalent to R$ 4,000).
The country’s prime minister and leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, Giorgia Meloni, alleges that the program is welfare-oriented and a source of fraud. “We are reforming the citizenship income to make a difference between those who can work and those who cannot”, justified Meloni.
However, Meloni’s statement contradicts what the Italian Institute of Statistics (Istat) revealed in its research on Citizenship Income.
According to Istat, the program helped at least 1 million Italians to overcome poverty. In 2022 alone, 1 million families were benefited, which corresponds to 4 million people served.
Demonstrations are being organized across the country, especially in cities in southern Italy, where poverty rates are higher than in the rest of the country.
war against the poor
The forecast is that by January 2024 the program will cease to exist. In its place, the Italian government will offer new alternatives according to the profile of the beneficiary.
One of the main projects is the “inclusion check”, in which low-income families with at least one minor, an elderly person or a disabled person at home will benefit. However, they will have to prove residency in the country for five years, of which at least two years must be uninterrupted.
Families that have at least one member able to work and who do not meet the other criteria required to acquire the benefit, the government will offer training support and 350 euros per month for one year (about R$1,850). For this, the applicant will have to prove that he has already sought out at least three employment agencies and must complete a declaration of immediate availability for work.
The Meloni government claims that, in this way, it will manage to encourage Italian youth to look for work, since the unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 exceeds the national average by almost three times.
But the correspondent Brazil in Fact in Italy, Janaína Cesar, said that “the Meloni government announced the cancellation in the most cruel way, by cell phone message, sms. leaving 169,000 of them in despair.”
“It’s a war against the poor. How are they going to live without that income? No one knows. That income helped the regions of southern Italy, which suffer abandonment due to lack of jobs, infrastructure.”
“At the same time, the government helps the business class with incentives, tax exemptions, debt forgiveness. Meloni dropped a bomb in the country and we will see the results soon. In the South, people are already protesting in front of government agencies. coming weeks should be decisive”, he says.
The journalist recalls that it is not just the poor who are targeted by the government, but also minorities. Recently, the Meloni government prohibited the birth registration of children of lesbian couples.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho