The head of Italy’s social security entity has been criticised for calling to extend the basic income initiative to include migrants who have been in the country for less than ten years.
President of the Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (INPS) Pasquale Tridico spoke to Italian media this week about his desire to expand the citizens’ income policy proposed by the Five Star Movement (M5S) in the first government headed by former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
“The income benefit has a ten-year residence requirement in Italy. This seems excessive to me and does not exist in any other European country,” Tridico said, according to Il Giornale, and called for an increase of the money given based on the size of families.
Currently, Italians, EU citizens, or legal immigrants who have lived in the country for at least ten years are eligible for the citizens’ income, so long as household income does not exceed €9,360 ($11,040/£8,000).
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Criticism came immediately from members of the centre-right coalition, such as populist Senator Matteo Salvini who called the idea “absurd” and demanded that the government help Italians facing difficulties first.
National-conservative Brothers of Italy (FdI) leader Giorgia Meloni also criticised the proposal, saying that “this would be yet another absurdity of a measure already totally insufficient to save our businesses on their knees”.
Senator Anna Maria Berini, a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, called it “a nonsensical and inappropriate proposal, because this only feeds new social conflicts while we are in such a dramatic situation, with millions of Italians plunged into poverty due to the pandemic crisis.”
The Wuhan coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on businesses in Italy, with the nation’s gross national product (GDP) shrinking by 8.9 per cent in 2020, down to the same level as 23 years ago.
Last month, a member of Milan’s Gastronomy Association estimated that up to 60 per cent of the restaurants and bars in Italy’s second-largest city could permanently close due to the lockdown restrictions implemented to combat the pandemic.