Around 4.5mln Italians living in 'absolute poverty'

Around 4.5mln Italians living in 'absolute poverty'

Some 4.5 million Italians were living in "absolute poverty" and 8.3 million were in conditions of "relative poverty" in 2015, national statistics agency Istat reported on Friday.

A total 11.5 percent of people faced serious economic hardship in 2015, Istat said, noting that the situation was "relatively stable" compared with the previous year.

But consumer group Codacons warned the Istat data showed poverty in Italy had increased between 2010 and 2015.

The number of Italians living in poverty had grown by almost 1.5 million people (1,469,000) over the five-year period, Codacons said.

"In 2010, when Italy was in the depths of recession, 4.6 percent of the population was living in absolute poverty while in 2015 the figure was 6.1 percent," Codacons president Carlo Rienzi stated.

"The statistics are getting worse," the group said, blaming Italy's rulers for failing to roll out policies to tackle poverty.

The Italian government has set aside 1.2 billion euros this year and 1.7 billion euros in 2018 to fight poverty in its recently approved economic and financial blueprint (DEF).

The blueprint includes a new 'inclusion wage' which Italy's premier Paolo Gentiloni on Friday said would initially benefit around 2 million poor people including 700,000 to 800,000 children.