Government scraps official national poverty line

Aid organisation Red Barnet criticises decision

Just a little over two years after Denmark received its first official national poverty line in June 2013, the government has moved to scrap it all together.

The social and internal affairs minister, Karen Ellemann, argued that poverty cannot only be measured in kroner and øre.

“We can’t use a poverty line for anything at all in social politics, so I don’t want to spend any more resources on it or use it at all,” Ellemann told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

READ MORE: First official poverty line established

A step back
But Jonas Keiding Lindholm, the secretary general of the aid organisation Red Barnet, disagreed with Ellemann and contended that scrapping the poverty line is a huge step backwards.

“The poverty line we have is more conservative than we at Red Barnet wish, but we can use it and it provides us with an important tool to improve the situations for the children who are faring the most poorly in the nation,” said Lindholm.

“We can help where it really makes a difference. It has a massive impact for the children in poor families when new political situations are developed. The poverty line can be used to assist specific groups of poor children.”

In 2013, the social minister at the time, Karen Hækkerup, set the poverty line to be less than an income of 103,500 kroner a year and assets under 100,000 kroner.