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Revealed: The truth about rising poverty in France

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Revealed: The truth about rising poverty in France
Photo: AFP
15:43 CET+01:00
A charity has raised the alarm over rising poverty rates in France, with more women, children, and foreigners among the needy.
Poverty is well and truly on the rise in France, according to a shock new report published by French charity the Secours Catholique on Thursday. 
 
The annual report noted that in 2015 there were 608,500 families or individuals living in difficulty, marking an increase of 2.7 percent since the same report the year before. 
 
And around 9 million people - including 3 million children - are living below the poverty line, which in France means less an income of less than €1,008 a month.
 
Bernard Thibaud, the charity's director, said that France was now playing host to a diversifying range of people in need. 
 
"We are seeing a growing precariousness among families, women, and children, and also of foreigners, with more people destitute and living in a precarious housing situations," he said. 
 
"And despite what some may believe, this isn't due to increasing number of migrants in France, but because the situation of this category of people is becoming increasingly fragile."
 
He added that the charity had many people who came seeking aid even while they had part time jobs or help from the government. 
 
"We are meeting more families with very modest yet stable living conditions, poor workers with a precarious part-time job, housewives, retirees..."
 
 
"Our welfare system helps them survive, but not to live. Only a permanent full time job can really get someone out of poverty."
 
For anyone living in the French capital the problem of poverty is easily visible.
 
The sight of groups people rummaging through supermarket and household bins is increasingly common.
 
 
The charity's study also noted that between 2004 and 2012, the proportion of poor households in the area had grown twice as fast as the rate across metropolitan France.
 
Laurent Seux at the charity told the RFI radio channel that the last 15 years had seen notable changes among those in need in France. 
 
"Now there are single mothers and couples with children, sometimes people with jobs who are unable to make ends meet... it's extremely worrying," she said. 
 
The charity also noted that it wasn't just extra money that those living in poverty were craving, with many saying they felt they needed someone to talk to. 
 
"Sixty percent of those without an income said they felt they had a need to be heard," Seux said. 

The charity urged the issue to be addressed by politicians, lamenting that this year's election campaign was focusing on other issues instead. 
 
"This association calls on all candidates going up for election in 2017 to make ending poverty a priority," the charity wrote in its report. 
 
 
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