Report predicts new levels of deprivation in Denmark following benefit cuts

More families on ‘kontanthjælp’ benefits will forgo basic expenses, according to study

According to a new report by the analysis bureau Analyse og Tal, the government’s recent benefits reform will lead to deprivation among many of the country’s ‘kontanthjælp’ benefit recipients, Information reports.

READ MORE: Danish government announces reform of benefits: It should pay to work

The report estimates that many families will cut back on basic consumer goods such as clothes, shoes, and, fruit and vegetables, as well as expenses like medicine, dental treatment, and celebrating children’s birthdays.

The report estimates that the proportion of couples on kontanthjælp with two children that will stop buying clothes and shoes will rise from ten percent to 25 percent. The proportion of these families that will stop celebrating children’s birthdays will increase from three percent to 13 percent. And the percentage that will drop visiting the dentist will go up from 13 percent to 27 percent.

Worst poverty in decades
Morten Ejrnæs, an associate professor at Aalborg University’s department of sociology and social work, told Information that the most recent cuts will lead to a level of poverty the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Denmark in decades.

“The previous non-socialist government’s cuts to kontanthjælp led to many children growing up in poverty. This time the cuts are worse,” he said.

“Therefore the result will of course be that the situation for the poorest in society will be even worse than before.”

Majbrit Berlau, the head of the social workers’ association Danmarks Socialrådgiverforening, said that the cuts marked a departure from the goal that all children should grow up without basic deprivation as part of Danish social politics.

“It is an old central idea in Denmark that no child should be outside the community because of poverty. Unfortunately that idea has been completely forgotten,” she said.

“And the tightening will lead to a lot of children living a very different life than their classmates.”