In a recent interview with Expressen, Jonas Wihlstrand, Secretary General of our member the Swedish City Missions, discusses the impact of the country’s highest rate of inflation in decades, specifically the record 20 percent increase in food prices. The Swedish City Mission, along with other organizations, has seen a significant increase in the number of people seeking food assistance, with two-thirds of their recent efforts focused on subsidized meals, food bags, or food vouchers. The pressure on these organizations is so great that some have had to temporarily close their operations.
The Swedish City Mission has seen a doubling in the number of visitors seeking financial or material support and food, including those who are gainfully employed but struggling to afford both rent and food. The largest group of visitors are families with children. The Swedish City Mission suggests raising the subsistence allowance temporarily, increasing basic deductions for low-income earners, and providing temporary state grants to civil society actors to support those hit hardest by the country’s socio-economic situation.
Wihlstrand urges politicians to take responsibility for the most vulnerable in Sweden and act to ensure that people are not dependent on civil society for their basic needs. The current situation is unworthy of Sweden’s welfare state, and long-term solutions are required to address the issue of food affordability.
Click here to read the full interview.
If you’re interested in learning more about the pressing issue of food aid and the cost of living crisis in Europe, consider joining Eurodiaconia and Red Cross EU for their upcoming Roundtable Discussion. The event will take place on April 13 at the European Parliament in Brussels, and will provide valuable insights into how the ongoing crisis is affecting millions of people across Europe, as well as the not-for-profit social service providers and food banks working to support them. To register and participate, click here.