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Austerity measures across Europe have a negative impact on the most vulnerable groups in society


Eurofound contributed to a conference celebrated by the Cyprus EU Presidency with research findings from projects that have looked at employment developments in childcare services for school-age children, company initiatives for workers with care responsibilities for disabled children or adults, and parenting support in Europe. Eurofound found that the proportion of people reporting difficulties in accessing childcare services are among the highest on all counts in Greece.

Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, has contributed to the ‘Investing in Children: Preventing and Tackling Child Poverty and Social Exclusion, Promoting Children’s Well-Being’ conference celebrated by the Cyprus EU Presidency in October with research findings that show that the social consequences of austerity measures across Europe have had a proportionally more negative impact on the most vulnerable groups in society, resulting in growing forms of child poverty and social exclusion. In February 2012, the European Commission published that 115 million people in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2010.

According to the Eurofound research results, more investment in children is needed and remains feasible as long as it is recognized as a priority and mainstreamed into all policy areas. The ultimate aim is to generate a dynamic political commitment for the actions ahead. Its project researches focused on projects that have looked at employment developments in childcare services for school-age children, company initiatives for workers with care responsibilities for disabled children or adults, and parenting support in Europe.

The Eurofound's research shows big differences between countries. The proportion of people reporting difficulties in accessing childcare services are among the highest on all counts in Greece, and costs were identified as a problem for people especially in Malta and the United Kingdom. Availability is especially an issue in some countries but the lack of services is evidently widespread. This European body also found that almost one in ten have used, or someone close to them has used, childcare services over the past 12 months. Distance or opening hours are preventing one in four (41%), while more than one quarter (27%) claim that the lack of quality services is their biggest challenge to accessing childcare services.

Source: Euroalert.net






  

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