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Charity report says 8.5 million in Spain suffer from social exclusion

Rough sleepers in the city of Murcia.
Rough sleepers in the city of Murcia. / MARTÍNEZ BUESO
  • The Foessa study for Cáritas explains that this figure is 1.2 million more than ten years ago and that political institutions are distrusted

A report for a leading charity has said that six million people in Spain are living in poverty, despite having a home and job. The 8th Foessa Report on Social Exclusion and Development also says that these six million are part of the 15 million people in Spain whose lives appear to be normal but with a slight change in circumstances they could fall into social exclusion. It also says that 8.5 million already suffer social exclusion.

The study was compiled for Cáritas, the main charity of the Catholic Church in Spain. Guillermo Fernández, who coordinated the report, said, "These six million in poverty are on a knife edge and if they lose their jobs they could fall into exclusion." He added, "We're not really talking about the misery of the people sleeping on a bench in the street. It could be an elderly person who breaks a leg; a woman who has to go into prostitution; a household with four kids where everyone is OK but they are dependent on a precarious job that isn't enough to cover the mortgage; four young people whose rent goes up; or a worker who has to pay for some emergency dental treatment. There are different situations that can lead to social exclusion."

The study also states that there are 8.5 million people living in social exclusion in Spain, which is 1.2 million more than the period 2007-2008. Almost half of these live in inadequate homes and are long-term unemployed. It explains that 75 per cent of this group don't bother to vote and so have no voice.

Fernández says that the report for Cáritas identifies three reasons why the situation could get worse; a rise in individualism, using market forces as an operational and moral reference point and distrust politicians and other institutions.