It is expected that this aid will reach around 70,000 families and more than 100,000 people.
The Government has promoted this Tuesday, at the proposal of the Ministry of Social Rights, Consumption and Agenda 2030, a new model of wallet cards for families with children in situations of severe poverty, which replaces food baskets, "so that families do not have to go to the hunger lines". With this new system, the Executive plans to reach, starting next April 2024, some 70,000 families and more than 100,000 people.
"Today we take a decisive step to dignify social protection so that families with dependent sons and daughters do not have to go to the hunger lines," stressed the Minister of Social Rights, Consumption and Agenda 2030, Pablo Bustinduy, this Tuesday. , at the press conference after the Council of Ministers.
To this end, the Government approved this Tuesday, at the proposal of the Ministry of Social Rights, Consumption and Agenda 2030, a Royal Decree that will regulate a direct grant, on an exceptional basis and for humanitarian reasons, of a subsidy to the Spanish Red Cross to implement This wallet card program runs during the year 2024.
The maximum amount of the subsidy is 100.2 million euros (95.5 million are allocated to expenses on food and other basic products and 4.7 million to technical expenses for the implementation of the program) and will be implemented in the whole of the State.
As explained by ministerial sources, the Government will assume the management of these cards in a "temporary and exceptional" manner in 2024 and, as of January 1, 2025, the autonomous communities must be responsible for their management.
This decision has been made since there was a risk of not arriving on time, since the last food purchase was made last October 2023 and will last until next April 2024. On that date, deliver food baskets and the wallet cards must now be operational, according to the same sources.
With this new model, we go from physically providing food and hygiene products to delivering cards or vouchers redeemable in certain establishments, with the aim of "dignifying and normalizing" access to basic products by the most vulnerable families, so that They can decide based on their preferences, and thus also avoid the so-called 'hunger queues'.
"Today, from the Council of Ministers, we are promoting a change of model by which vulnerable families will be provided with wallet cards or vouchers exchangeable for food products and other essential products such as hygiene products in what will be a model less stigmatizing for families who will be able to buy these products directly in the supermarket," explained Bustinduy.
The purpose, according to the same sources, is that the supermarkets themselves can make the selection at the checkout, informing families of the products that can or cannot be loaded on the card.
As Bustinduy specified, this new model "will allow these families to directly access fresh products such as fruit and vegetables, which due to the nature of the previous bag distribution system was not a possible option."
"This change in model ultimately dignifies basic material assistance in our country, it will improve its functioning, it is specifically aimed at alleviating child poverty in Spain, it will improve the nutrition of the most vulnerable boys and girls and it will also have an impact in a higher quality of life for their families," remarked the Minister of Social Rights.
For this program, which is financed with the state section of the European Social Fund, the Government will allocate some 660 million euros for the next seven years - an amount "much higher" than the 3% required by the European Commission, according to what they say - and they expect it to benefit some 70,000 families. With the previous model, around 1.5 million bags of food were distributed.
These wallet cards will be aimed at families with dependent children, who earn less than 40% of the average income. The assessment and selection of the beneficiaries, as well as the delivery of the cards, will be the responsibility of the Social Services of each autonomous community.
"Regarding the estimate of beneficiaries, at the moment it is nothing more than an estimate, 70,000 families, and it will be through the social services of the autonomous communities when the demands for participation can be channeled and, therefore, have a more reliable orientation on the final number of recipients. We are moving with that estimate of 70,000 families, which in its varied composition will be above 100,000 people," Bustinduy specified.
FROM 130 TO 220 EUROS PER MONTH
By type of household, those made up of an adult and a minor will receive 130 euros per month; those for three people (two minors and one adult, or two adults and one minor), 160 euros; those with four people, 190 euros, and those made up of five or more members, 220 euros.
According to ministerial sources, these amounts are higher than what these families received through the delivery of food, since they calculate that they received 6 euros per person per month, an amount that, according to them, does not cover the care needs of a person.
The new wallet card will be rechargeable for a maximum of three months and, once that time has passed, families must recharge them again.
According to the same sources, this is a fund with limited resources that will not cover the needs of all families. In any case, they specify that this tool does not exclude other programs, actions or lines of financing.
With this new model, collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Food Banks (FESBAL) - which was in charge, together with the Red Cross, of delivering the food purchased by the Spanish Agrarian Guarantee Fund (FEGA) - will cease. However, the Ministry has specified that the food banks will continue to operate and receive public support.