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Recent social policy developments in Belgium, Malta and the UK

10 May 2017


Three new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social policy Network (ESPN) have just become available and provide information on recent policy initiatives in Belgium, Malta and the UK.

  • Despite the Belgian federal government’s commitment to raise the guaranteed minimum income (GMI) to the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, the level of the GMI remains too low to lift beneficiaries out of poverty. In addition, many of those in need are not covered by the scheme due to stricter eligibility conditions, other restrictions imposed by social services, complex application procedures, as well as resistance against disrespectful treatment and psycho-social barriers such as feelings of shame. Since the current policy seems to increase the risk of exclusion rather than improve minimum income protection, a thorough evaluation should urgently be considered.
  • A new initiative in Malta will do away with the current widespread practice whereby migrants and refugees loiter at roundabouts in the hope of landing a job for a day. Once it is implemented, migrants will be given a more accessible/effective opportunity to register for work, and recruitment will be handled through a dedicated job brokerage office. This Job Brokerage Scheme should ensure that payment rates and work conditions will comply with the law.
  • In the latest UK Flash Report, the authors explain why in their view Brexit is likely to have profound consequences for UK social policy. According to them, housing issues (among other social policy issues) both influenced the referendum result and will be influenced by it. Overall, they consider that Brexit is likely to add uncertainty to the problems of housing policy and may act as a distraction from addressing structural issues.

This document has been prepared for the European Commission. However, it reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.