Against the expensive prices who empties the shopping cart comes one card to help approximately one million and 400 thousand families in economic difficulty. Providing a contribution to reduce expenses linked to the growth in the prices of foodstuffs, starting with those of bread, fruit and milk is the objective of a bonus worth 382 euros, to be activated by September 30th which the Government is working on. The details were provided by the Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida who however specified a series of “exclusions among those who already benefit from other supports”. The growth of prices due to inflation increases family spending but forces them to buy fewer products. As certified by Istat, retail sales in April rose by 3.2% in value compared to April 2022, but decreased by 4.8% in volumes. A collapse in sales which also affects basic food items defined as ‘alarming’ by consumer associations. The Government’s response, envisaged in the 2023 budget law thanks to the allocation of 500 million euros, is a Card against the high cost of living in food.
Those with incomes of up to 15,000 euros will be able to take advantage of them and this should lead, from the calculations made by INPS together with Anci, “to around 1,400,000 cards which will contain 382 euros for families who have difficulty purchasing”, explains the minister. When asked if those who enjoy the basic income or the inclusion income will be excluded from the new card, Lollobrigida however specifies that “in these hours the INPS is making the calculations to make the best use of the economic capacity of the measure”. As for the timing, “the card can be activated by 30 September and all the residues of the non-activated cards will be redistributed in those of those who activated them”. The sum can be spent until 31 December 2023. While the green light is expected around mid-July but, to do so, the ministry says, the appointment of the new INPS president is awaited. The beneficiaries will be able to go and collect the Card at the post offices, after receiving the letter from the Municipality to which they belong. This intervention, adds Lollobrigida, “is in addition to another fund which this year will invest 110 million for the purchase of foodstuffs to be distributed to the poor”. Alongside this “negotiations were opened with employers’ organizations and with large-scale retailers to obtain the possibility of adding an investment in terms of further discounts of up to 15%”. It is not the first time that bonuses or cards have been thought of to help those who are most in difficulty. In the midst of the Covid pandemic, in March 2020, the Conte government had provided 400 million for shopping vouchers designed to help those unable to buy basic necessities deal with the coronavirus emergency. Much better known is the Social Card launched by the then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In this case, the Purchasing Card consisted of a subsidy of 40 euros per month intended for families in economic difficulty to support food but also medical expenses and the payment of electricity and gas bills.