A proposal from the Left Green party, to provide a grant to residents who receive financial assistance, has been approved by the Welfare Committee today, according to www.eyjan.is. The grant awards each welfare recipient a flat 15,000 ISK with a 5,000 ISK supplement for each child in their custody. The proposal passed with support of the Best Party, Social Democrats, and the Left Greens. The Independent Party abstained from voting.
This project, which will cost the city nearly 25 million ISK, requires approval by the City Council. According to Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, a City Council member and chairperson of the Welfare Committee, the council will most likely approve the proposal tomorrow.
Representatives of the Best Party, Social Democrats and the Left Greens say that, “hundreds of individuals need to find help each week in order to receive food donations. It is therefore not a question of low wages, from the job market or from public benefits. Over 90% of people receiving aid live on that income. It is the duty of each local government to insure that its residents can take care of themselves and their families. Financial assistance given to the local governments is considered relief, not long-term income. The Welfare Committee is currently working on finding ways to bring those who depend on welfare and financial aid up from their low-income brackets, and on other proposals for how the city can improve the conditions of Reykjavík’s poor.”
The parties believe it is clear that the summer supplements are not enough to completely make a difference for those involved but that it can be seen as a symbolic step on the path towards correcting the living conditions of the poor.