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'One in five French people can't afford three meals a day'

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'One in five French people can't afford three meals a day'
A volunteer of the French charitable organisation Les Restos du Coeur. Photo: AFP
10:27 CEST+02:00
One in five French people can't afford three meals a day or eat healthily, a new report reveals, as the government gets set to present its long-awaited poverty plan on Thursday.
The survey, carried out by the Secours Populaire (French Popular Relief) -- a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting poverty and discrimination -- contains some shocking figures.
 
Just over one fifth of the French people surveyed (21 percent) said they were unable to afford a healthy diet, comprising three meals a day and 27 percent said they did not have the financial means to buy fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.
 
For 86 percent of those on the lowest incomes, consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and paying for school meals are a frequent problem. 
 
More than one in two French people with monthly incomes of less than €1,200 said they had difficulty paying for their children's school meals and nearly half (48 percent) find it difficult to eat a varied diet. 
 
Moreover, 59 percent of French people admit to worrying that they are in a more precarious financial situation than before.
 
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Photo: AFP
 
"The right to food is not fulfilled in our country," the National Secretary of the Secours Populaire Richard Béninger told the French press.
 
Holidays are "problematic"
 
The survey also revealed that holiday periods and health remain "problematic" areas of spending for many French people.
 
A total of 41 percent admitted to having a hard time going on holiday once a year and nearly one in three people admitted to having a hard time paying for poorly reimbursed medical procedures (56% for the most modest fellowships).
 
However the Secours Populaire said that broadly speaking the financial situation of French people has improved compared to 2017, while pointing out that 39 percent say they have experienced poverty -- 2 percent more than in 2017.
 
Pessimistic about the future
 
The survey showed that the French are worried about the financial situation that awaits their children, with more than 80 percent believing that their children's generation will be more vulnerable to poverty than their own.
 
On top of that, 75 percent said they believe that the EU "does not invest a lot in the fight against food insecurity".
 
Meanwhile, this year's survey was consistent with 2017's in showing that the French consider a person to be poor when they have a monthly income of €1,118 or less.
 
The French government is set to reveal its long-awaited plan to fight poverty on Thursday after French President Emmanuel Macron was attacked for postponing the in order to go t the World Cup in July.
 
And the Secours Populaire will be paying close attention to the plan. 
 
"We will judge not statements, we will judge action, and more specifically the concrete effects of the plan on the lives of the millions of people we are talking about, and who are affected by poverty,"  said Béninger of the Secours Populaire.
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