In 2008, spending on social assistance provided by municipalities amounted to 6 billion and 662 million €, equal to 0.42% of national GDP, an increase by 4.1% compared to 2007. ISTAT made a photograph of the progress of local welfare policies before the “perfect storm”, the economic crisis that has affected economies around the world as well as Italy. The increase recorded in 2008 is however in line with the trend that spending has followed in the six previous years: 2003 to 2008, in fact, says ISTAT, the total increase was 28.2% in current prices, which represents an increase of 13.5%, considering the amount at constant prices. The average expenditure per capita increased from 90 € in 2003 to 111 € in 2008, but the increase is only 8 € per capita, if calculated in constant prices. Continue to persist, also significant regional differences in resources used by the municipalities in relation to the resident population: expenditure per capita varies from a minimum of 30 € in Calabria to a maximum of 280 € in the Autonomous Province of Trento. As above the national average are located all regions of Central and Northern Italy and Sardinia, while the South has the lowest levels of average expenditure per capita, € 52, about 3 times less than in the Northeast, 155 €. To take advantage of the benefits of the intervention of local welfare are mainly families and children, the elderly and people with disabilities: three areas of user on which focused 82.6% of the resources used. More specifically, policies to combat poverty and social exclusion account for 7.7% of social spending, while 6.3% is addressed to general or “multi-user” activities. The remaining shares concern the areas of “immigrants and gypsies” with 2.7% and the ”addictions” with 0.7%.
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