4.8 Current debates and reforms
Upcoming political developments
Measures to combat the health emergency caused by COVID-19, including the complete interruption of production activities, immediately produced a high demand for social protection. In order to support the most disadvantaged sections of the population, art. 82 of the Revival Decree(Law 34 of 19 May 2020) therefore established the EmergencyIncome(REM), an extraordinary support, lasting two months, aimed at households in a state of economic need due to the emergency, which did not have access to the support provided for this purpose by the Decree Cura Italia (lawNo. 18 of 17 March 2020)) for certain categories.
In addition, the health crisis has highlighted even more the critical issues in the composition of welfare expenditure, which is very unbalanced in Italy in favour of cash social benefits to the detriment of those provided through services and interventions. For this reason, the resources of theSocial Funds have been increased to strengthen innovative territorial interventions, able to promote the support of the birth rate and the family among the non-self-sufficiency and disability sectors of the population.
Lgs D. 96/2019 amended Lgs. D. 66/2017 "Rules for the Promotion of School Inclusion of Students with Disabilities'' (par. 4.6) introducing important news:
- The allocation of support hours will be decided in consultation with families;
- grants, tools and methodologies of study will no longer be developed in a "standard" way, according to the type of disability, but with an individualised curriculum that will look at the characteristics of the individual student;
- the composition of medical commissions is varied in relation to the different functions it oversees;
- New inclusion groups are introduced, such as the Operational Working Group for Inclusion (GLIR) and the Territorial Inclusion Groups (GIT).
More than a year after the introduction of the Citizenship Income, the debate over any corrections to the measure has been quite intense. In particular, two aspects are highlighted as worthy of revision: on the one hand, the stringent requirements in terms of duration and continuity of residence, which have led to a significant selectivity with respect to access to the measure by foreign nationals; on the other hand, the coefficients linked to family composition, which disadvantage families with minors compared to the equivalent scales normally adopted. Several research and monitoring activities have been conducted, most notably the monitoring by the Ministry of Labour and social policies or by ANPAL.
Such assessments have led to some changes in the initiatives, like the abolition of the so-called “Navigators” to support people's access to work. This measure has met many controversies especially by the National Association of Navigators, but it seems that their role will be absorbed by Employment Centres, thanks to their reform, included in the PNRR and to which around 600 million have been granted.
As of October 2022, with the new government elections, the whole Citizen Income institution will probably be reformed, aiming at its elimination in the upcoming years.
According to some statistics, such a decision will be affecting 38% of the families currently perceiving the income already by August 2023, causing the worst effects for foreign people and more generically to poorer households, especially in the South. Considering the already devastating effects of inflation and of Ukraine war on the global economics, many analysts are considering such decision as possibly disastrous for thousand of people, increasing the percentage of families and individuals in absolute and relative poverty.
Finally, it should also be highlighted, for the possible impact on the future (re)design of policies, the recent institution (December 2019) of theAlliance for Children,a national network of organisations and associations engaged in different ways in the promotion and protection of the rights of children and young people and their parents, who share the responsibility and urgency to raise awareness and pressure on policymakers to implement the necessary reforms and initiatives, and to urge and support local businesses and communities to build environments more conducive to children, youths and their parents.