41,000 people to receive government food packages

People who did not meet the criteria for the food scheme funded by the EU will receive food packages from the government, Family Minister announces

Michael Farrugia said that the new scheme will be introduced shortly and that a tender for the food supplies had already been issued
Michael Farrugia said that the new scheme will be introduced shortly and that a tender for the food supplies had already been issued

41,000 people will soon be receiving food packages from the government after a family profiling exercise identified numerous individuals and families who did not meet the criteria for the food scheme funded by the EU, Family Minister Michael Farrugia announced.

Farrugia, who was addressing a press conference at the LEAP Centre in Birgu, said that the new scheme will be introduced shortly and that a tender for the supply of food had already been issued.

"When providing the food packages provided by the EU, we introduced the profiling programme and identified another 41,000 people who would benefit from receiving the free food but who did not meet the criteria under the EU scheme," he said.

Around €300,000 from the consolidated fund had been allocated for the new project which will provide free food packages to people who receive age pensions, families with a single dependent child under 16 years, families with a single dependent child under 16 and who already receive energy benefits, and people receiving disability pensions.

Farrugia said that in February 2013, 13,984 people had been receiving social assistance, single parent allowance and unemployment benefits.

By August this year, that number had dropped to 9,668, mainly due to the number of people that had managed to find employment in the past three years.

The minister said that the number of people under 23 years of age receiving social assistance had dropped from 1,202 in February 2013 to 506 in August this year, a drop of 57%.

In the last budget, the government had allocated ‘In-Work’ benefits to 209 families where only one parent worked, 626 families where both parents worked, and 992 single-parent families where the parent also worked.

2,328 people that had found employment since 2015 had benefited from the government’s ‘tapering system’, through which they continued receiving social benefits for the first three years of their employment.

Farrugia said that the number of women who returned to work continued to increase year on year under this administration; 23% in 2014 and 12.6% in 2015.

Between April 2015 and April 2016, the number of women in full-time employment rose from 62,000 to 66,000, wheras the number of women in both full-time and part-time employment rose by 700 to 8,000, and the number of women in part-time employment rose from 19,600 to 20,500.

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