Aid of R$ 600 is temporary, does not pay for food or reduce queues

Hunger: The calculation of Auxílio Brasil is simple, but it does not meet the different needs of each family, says economist. Photo: Getty Images.

Will the increase in Auxílio Brasil make a difference for people? With expert commentary and numbers, you will understand what the change means, how food inflation has behaved and what the real impacts are for the population.

Auxílio Brasil is the main benefit for low-income people in Brazil at the moment. It recently had its value increased from R$400 to R$600 because of the so-called PEC Kamikaze. Here we relate this increase to the reality of the Brazilian difficulty in finding food and the significant increase in food price inflation. Hunger, after decades, has returned to be a problem that plagues at least 40% of people.

Hunger is violence: Aid of R$ 600 is temporary, does not pay for food or reduce queues

With the announcement that the value of Auxílio Brasil will jump from R$400 to R$600, many Brazilian families saw the prospect of having a better income to cover basic expenses, such as food and household bills. An estimate by Abras, an association that represents supermarkets in Brazil, points out that Brazilian families must spend 50% to 60% of the extra resources made available through the aid approved in the PEC of Benefits with purchases in supermarkets.

At the same time, the increase can turn to frustration. An ordinance published in the Official Gazette this Wednesday (20) regulates the temporary increase of Auxílio Brasil, starting in August and ending in December this year. The amounts will be distributed according to the schedule of the program, using the same means of deposit.

“The Auxílio Brasil of R$ 600 is transitory. The calculation, the information that it uses to decide the amount, is simple, but it does not meet the different needs of each family”, questions Marcelo Neri, economist and researcher at the Center for Social Policies from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV Social).

“Valor do Auxílio Brasil does not meet the different needs of each family” – Marcelo Neri

Valor covered a basic basket in 2020; today, do not cover

One of the parameters for defraying the value of aid is the purchasing power for a basic basket, for example. When comparing, the account does not close and the population is still hungry: even with a possible increase of R$ 200, Auxílio will still not be able to buy a basic food basket. The value is below the more than R$ 770 charged for food in some capitals.

This is the case of São Paulo, where the basic food basket costs R$ 777.93. In Florianópolis and Porto Alegre, it is just a few reais cheaper, beating R$772.07 and R$768.76, respectively. The purchase with the money received by Auxílio Brasil is only possible in five regions: Aracaju, João Pessoa, Natal, Recife and Salvador and even so all baskets are above R$ 540.

To calculate the cost of food on the table of Brazilians, DIEESE considers the following foods:

  • Meat

  • Milk

  • Bean

  • Rice

  • Flour

  • Potato

  • Vegetables (Tomato)

  • french bread

  • Powder coffee

  • Fruits (Banana)

  • Sugar

  • lard/oil

  • Butter

From the list, oil, beans and potatoes are the foods that, from the beginning of the Jair Bolsonaro government, in January 2019, until May 2022, became more salty for the pocket. Over the past few years, the three have cost more than twice their old price, with the leader in the rankings having surpassed a 183% increase. See the graph below:

In 2020, representatives of the Brazilian Basic Income Network fought for Emergency Aid of R$ 600 based on the value of the basic food basket, which in Sao Paulo, for example, cost R$ 577. “With inflation and lower purchasing power , the same basket in SP costs more than R$ 700. Even if values ​​are increased, the problem of minimum guarantee remains”, defends Paola Carvalho.

It is worth noting that the Emergency Aid, adjusted by the IPCA (National Consumer Price Index), is also higher than the Auxílio Brasil. Today, the ticket would be R$ 719.40 – which still makes it impossible to buy basic food baskets in some capitals.

in numbers

More than 2.7 million families that served the requirements to receive the Brazil Aid did not have access to the benefit in April this year, as shown in the Study by the National Confederation of Municipalities (CNM). Created in August of last year to replace Bolsa Família, the income transfer program is considered an electoral asset for Jair Bolsonaro (PL), who is seeking re-election to the federal executive this year.

The most recent mapping by the National Confederation of Municipalities (CNM) shows that all municipalities in Brazil have a repressed demand for 2.78 million families waiting for access to Auxílio Brasil. In April, 5.3 million Brazilians with a profile to receive the benefit were in line.

“The longer lines are the result of two situations: the first is the impoverishment of the population, poverty today is the highest in the last 10 years; we have 62.9 million poor people, with an increase of about 10 million in the pandemic. Using the We also have the highest level for the Auxílio Brasil, of R$ 210/family. On the other hand, there is the need in view of the other value: it is a generous amount in view of the other previous aid programs. willing to face the queues”, explains Marcelo Neri.

In 2021 alone, the second year of the pandemic, another 7.2 million Brazilians began to live in poverty, according to a survey by FGV Social. The proportion of the poor rose from 7.6% of the population in 2020 to 10.8% in 2021, an increase of 42.11%.