By Andria Kades
ALMOST ONE third of Cyprus is at risk of poverty and social exclusion, according to figures released by the statistical service that show an increasing trend since 2008.
The latest numbers show that in 2013, the risk was 27.8 per cent compared to 23.3 per cent in 2008, both of which are way off the national target of 19.8 per cent.
According to daily Politis, reform chief Konstantinos Petrides submitted the figures to the Council of Ministers and they will soon be reviewed by the European Commission.
In 2013, 16.1 per cent of the population in 2013 could not afford to pay at least four out of nine ‘material deprivation’ items. These are the ability to pay rent or utility bills, to cover unexpected charges, to keep their home adequately heated, to eat meat, fish or a protein equivalent every second day, to take a week’s holiday away from home, or to buy a car, washing machine, colour TV and telephone.
The statistics show that foreigners from non EU countries had the highest risk of poverty and social exclusion at 43.4 per in 2013.
Last month, the Cyprus Mail reported that at least 12,000 families needed help during Easter, far more than the previous year.
On a positive note, Petrides submitted figures that showed improvements such as an increase – albeit slight – in employment to 67.6 per cent in 2014 from 67.2 per cent the previous year, quite far off their target between 75 and 77 per cent. They were however marginally close to the EU28 employment in 2013 at 68.4 per cent.
The percentage of GDP that went towards research and development increased 0.05 per cent to 0.48 per cent in 2014. This is a far cry from the two per cent European Union countries invest and their three per cent target for 2020.
One target that Cyprus did meet was the percentage of people receiving higher education. The goal of 46 per cent was surpassed with 47.8 per cent in 2013 and 51.1 per cent in 2014.
School and college drop out rate was 9.1 per cent in 2013 and 7.9 per cent in 2014.