POVERTY rates in Andalucia are the same as they were at the height of the crisis.
In Sevilla, 40% of children are still living in poverty, despite it being one of the most visited tourism hotspots in the country.
Mariano Perez de Ayala, regional head the Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, told Euronews that austerity policies and labour law reforms have only made things worse in Spain.
“Our system doesn’t smooth out inequalities in times of economic boom, and it destroys a lot of jobs and deepens inequalities in times of crisis,” he said.
“The crisis has reversed many social achievements in Europe. We have seen the rise of a neo-liberal model that undermines the social welfare system. Labour reforms that have been implemented according to this model have been detrimental to the social achievements of recent years.”
Mariano claims they are part of the millions of Spaniards who are not seeing the benefits from the country’s impressive recovery.
Sevilla’s Polígono Sur, known as ‘the 3,000 homes’, is still one of the poorest towns in Spain.
Hundreds of children rely on free meals from the organisation as part of a programme launched nationwide three years ago by the NGO Educo.
“Requests for our summer meals have gone up by 40% compared to last year,” said Fernando Rodríguez of Educo Andalucia.
“The economic crisis has led to budget cuts in social funding, education, health. That has led to many families trying to cut down on food spending. Nobody is going hungry, but there is malnutrition in Spain.”
Sevilla has become Spain’s fifth poorest city.
“New families have arrived, people who have lost their jobs, or who work in very precarious conditions and no longer have any social benefits. Our main concern is that this kind of poverty is turning into a chronic phenomenon,” says Javier Cuenca, head of Save the Children Andalucia.
It comes as Spain’s economic growth is outpacing its European neighbours.
Just last week the IMF upgraded its forecast for Spain’s growth to 3.2% this year, far higher than the UK.