Army of poor in Italy says Caritas

Fighting poverty indispensable says Mattarella

(ANSA) - Rome, October 17 - Catholic charity Caritas said Wednesday that Italy had an "army of poor" who "do not seem to find responses" to their needs from the State. In a report released on the international day for the eradication of poverty, Caritas said the number of people in absolute poverty in Italy is over five million, following a 182% increase since the start of the economic crisis.
    Caritas Italiana Director Francesco Soddu expressed reservations about Deputy Premier and Labour and Industry Minister Luigi Di Maio's assertion that the government would end poverty in Italy when it brings in a 'citizenship wage' basic income for job seekers.
    "As Christians we have some trouble in thinking that you can abolish poverty," Soddu said. "Poverty is not just lack of income or work. It is isolation, fragility, fear of the future.
    "Giving a one-dimensional answer to a multi-dimensional problem would be a simplification".
    The Caritas report said the REI benefit for the poor introduced by the previous centre-left government should not be scrapped, but "broadened and improved". President Sergio Mattarella also made an appeal on the day for the eradication of poverty.
    "In Italy cases of both absolute poverty and relative poverty have increased," the head of State said.
    "That's why it is indispensable to continue with policies to support those who live in poverty or who are extremely vulnerable to it".