The president of the União das Misericórdias Portuguesas (UMP), Manuel Lemos, said today that he sees “with great concern” the numbers of poverty in Portugal, considering that “an effort” by all is necessary to overcome the problem.
“It is clear that we all have to make an effort so that in the Europe of the 21st century, people can have a minimum to live with dignity, because poverty is always an unacceptable social plague”, said Manuel Lemos to the Lusa agency.
The UMP president was speaking in Beja, there is no final debate session on aging in Portugal, which was based on the document “Senior Answers of the Future – A Model of Integrated Specialized Answers”, launched in May this year by the institution.
According to the Pordata portal on Sunday, marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, more than 1.6 million Portuguese live below the poverty line, that is, on less than 540 euros per month.
An analysis based on data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), revealed that 9.5% of the employed population in Portugal was considered poor.
Confronted by Lusa with these data, Manuel Lemos acknowledged that they should be faced “with great concern”.
“It is obvious that this number needs to be looked at carefully”, pointed out the UMP president, who has already served as regional commissioner of the North for the Fight Against Poverty, and vice-chairman of the “Poverty Alleviation” committee of the United Nations and as a representative of Portugal in the Committee for Social Affairs of the European Union.
Manuel Lemos added that at the moment there is also “an increase in the number of people looking for social canteens of mercies in Portugal, which is the symptom of the crisis that is latent following the pandemic” of covid-19.
“It is important that we continue to monitor the situation, in cooperation with the State and political leaders. Because this is a transversal problem in society”, he warned.