Inequality in Brussels intensifies by COVID-19 crisis: Reports

Brussels, Belgium: From the continuing housing crisis to the gap between rich and poor, inequality in Brussels has been aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis, as per an analysis by perspective.

The city’s social divides can be seen in the way that neighborhoods in the center, the north as well as the west, have more limited access to healthcare, education, sports and cultural facilities than the rest of the region.

Moreover, the shortage of general practitioners in these areas became all the more visible because of the corona crisis.

The cabinet of Brussels Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort, “The crisis has exacerbated the social problems in the most deprived neighborhoods.”

“We already had that feeling, but the figures now confirm it. This is never pleasant to see and is certainly a warning for our social policy.”

Poverty in Brussels also became more acute. About a third which is 31 percent of the Brussels population, lives on an income that is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold (€1,284 euros per month for a single person and €2,696 euros per month for a couple with two children).

Along with this, the issue is markedly worse than in Flanders (where this applies to 10 percent of the population), as well as Wallonia, which is 18 percent.

Various support measures were introduced to limit the financial impact of the pandemic. Still, the groups that are over represented in the Brussels-Capital Region, namely artists, students, undeclared workers, homeless people and undocumented migrants, could not rely on these measures.

Eleven percent of the Brussels population cannot pay their bills on time as well as 44 percent are financially unable to cope with unexpected expenses.

In spite of the prevailing poverty, the rent continues to rise year on year, especially in most of the affordable segments of the market, according to the sources.

Furthermore, the ever-increasing costs weigh heavily on a third of the Brussels inhabitants, whose housing costs account for over 40 per cent of the disposable income.

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