In this Poverty Watch report 2022, there was strong cooperation with Latvian state institutions in reducing poverty, as well as the priority issues related to poverty and social exclusion in Latvia and possible solutions, including in connection with the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising cost of energy resources.
Along with statistical indicators of poverty, the subjective emotional assessment of poverty by the country’s residents is also important – that is, how the population itself perceives the processes that affect poverty. This assessment makes it possible to better identify priority directions for poverty reduction to help the population. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021 the poverty problems in Latvia have further worsened.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
Most Affected Groups
- According to the EAPN-Latvia, Latvian government is working hard to reduce poverty, but unfortunately these measures are insufficient, inconsistent and contradictory. There is a need for greater operational coordination and a systemic approach focused on the achievement of specific objectives.
- Current social policy in Latvia is shaped without a clear idea of what consumption should be like to meet the needs of the population at a minimum level (including by social groups). There is also no justification for what the minimum wage, pension, benefits and other social payments should be like. Such information is usually provided by the regulatory subsistence minimum consumption budget, which has not been calculated in Latvia since 2014. Currently, the subsistence minimum basket that is being developed by the Ministry of Welfare is prepared according to the relative method, by linking the percentage of consumption to the average values, but as a result it does not provide a justification for the subsistence minimum.
- EAPN-Latvia believes that the pension system should be reviewed because the current pension system creates a risk that future pensioners will receive a pension that is insufficient for the pensioner’s subsistence minimum level.
- EAPN-Latvia advocates the complex improvement of the health care system, which would ensure a more efficient use of the health care sector’s infrastructure and of the existing resources.
- EAPN-Latvia advocates the use of all available funds for the eradication of poverty and inequality, including the European Recovery Fund resources. In our opinion, currently too few resources are earmarked for reducing inequalities (20% of the amount of the Latvian Recovery Fund plan) and the emphasis is mostly placed on reducing territorial inequalities (but not so much on reducing social inequalities).
In 2018, 22.9% of Latvian population was at risk of poverty. Although the scale of Covid was relatively smaller in Latvia compared to other countries, the economic impact is still very negative. More people will be at risk of poverty due to the disease.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
- Access to housing:
– available mortgage loans
– creation of social houses
– changes in taxes and other payments
– labour force forecasts
– job creation by local governments
- Changes in the tax system
– develop tax system that ensures stability
– transparency of each tax
– tax revenues increased based on GDP
- Access to the health care system
– a basket of paid & free medical services
– control the prices of medicines
Valnu Street 32-1
Riga, LV-1050 (Latvia)
Tel: +371 22 31 15 45 / +371 29 66 40 63
E-mail: info ( @ ) eapn.lv