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Helping the excluded and sharing best practice is vital to beat poverty - Liz Lynne

October 19, 2010 3:44 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne
Liz Lynne MEP congratulates UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon after his speech on fighting poverty was warmly received by Euro MPs.

Liz Lynne MEP congratulates UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon after his speech on fighting poverty was warmly received by Euro MPs.

Helping the most excluded back into work and spreading best practice from across Europe on minimum income schemes are the most vital steps to beat poverty, Lib Dem Euro MP told the European Parliament in a debate to mark International Poverty Day.

The West Midlands Lib Dem MP was speaking during a debate at Strasbourg on the Figueiredo report on the role of minimum income in combating poverty and promoting an inclusive society in Europe.

Liz Lynne, a longstanding campaigner against poverty and social exclusion, urged MEPs to back the 'best practice' route of promoting minimum income schemes and ensure that targets already in the EU 2020 strategy were actually met by member states.

In her speech Liz Lynne said: "I believe the minimum income report that we voted through in employment committee is the best way forward and will achieve the widest support. I urge you to reject amendments one and two.

"I have always been a passionate supporter of a minimum income in all member states and I have written it into all the reports I have produced on social inclusion.

"I believe the best way of achieving this however is through the exchange of best practice. If we try to take the legislative route, in my view we will fail to take everyone with us and will not achieve what we all want. And that is, a decent standard of living for all, to take people out of poverty and to avoid homelessness.

"In the employment committee report we also stress that the most effective way out of poverty is to make the labour market accessible to all. One way of achieving this is to make sure the Employment Directive is implemented effectively across all member states.

"When formulating policy, on poverty and social inclusion, we must listen to the people at the sharp end, in other words those who are experiencing poverty and homelessness themselves.

"We must ensure that EU member states meet their targets for poverty reduction as outlined in the EU 2020 strategy."

Euro MPs also heard a formal address from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17th.

The theme for 2010 is to stress the need to 'bridge the gap' from poverty into work. Ban Ki Moon repeated his message that at a time of austerity governments should be doing more to fight poverty, not less.

"Decent and productive work is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty and build self-sufficiency. The global economic crisis has further pushed an estimated 64 million into poverty across the world and unemployment is up by more than 30 million since 2007.

"How can we bridge the gap from poverty to decent work? By investing in economic and social policies that foster job creation; promoting decent labour conditions and deepening social protection systems. Access to education, public health and job training is also essential."

Commenting Liz Lynne said:

"I am delighted to welcome Ban Ki Moon to the European Parliament to mark the International Poverty Eradication Day.

"The causes of poverty are complex, but it is a challenge we must do all we can to defeat given the global economic downturn and this means action at national level to build a fairer society, strong measures to tackle discrimination and the implementation of EU poverty targets as laid down by the EU2020 strategy."

ENDS

Note: In 2006, Liz Lynne was the rapporteur for a report on social reality stocktaking for the European Parliament which recommended a number of progressive measures to help those most excluded into work to fight poverty