Number of people at risk of poverty in Poland rises says World Bank

Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

The share of Poland's population at risk of poverty will remain at the level of 1 to 2 percentage points higher than in 2021, according to a report by the World Bank.

Despite economic challenges and inflationary pressures affecting the European Union, Poland also has to take into account that the number of people living in poverty has increased, and act accordingly, the report's authors wrote.

The rise in poverty comes despite the Polish government introducing a number of welfare schemes, and measures designed to help Poles cope with rising inflation.

"In the case of Poland, it is forecast that despite such support mechanisms, such as the anti-inflation shield, the fourteenth pension and subsidising energy prices, the share of the population at risk of anchored poverty is expected to remain elevated at 1-2 percentage points above 2021 levels."

Poland, and other EU countries, the report continued, should implement carefully planned macroeconomic policies that keep inflation in check but at the same time prevent fluctuations in the financial markets and protect the poorest.

Despite the "elevated" levels of poverty, the report found that in Poland family allowances and benefits account for a much higher percentage of GDP and total social spending than the EU average; 3.8 percent and 16.2 percent respectively in Poland compared to 2.5 and 8.3 percent in the EU.

Reshuffling these proportions could help support the poorest and the weakest more effectively, the authors of the report assessed.

Among the recommendations found in the report were limiting untargeted tax breaks, strengthening the fiscal administration, broadening the tax base and reducing fossil fuel subsidies that undermine incentives to save energy "which is contrary to long-term climate goals."