Foto: Marcello CasalJr/Arquivo Agência Brasil

Federal programs targeting the most vulnerable populations have been the hardest hit by Brazil’s budget cuts in recent years. Reductions in areas such as social assistance, education and housing reached R$ 60.2 billion from 2014 to 2017. The conclusion is from a study led by the Institute of Collective Health of the Federal University of Bahia (ISC / UFBA) and recently published by international scientific journal BMJ .

For the survey, budget data made available to the public by the Federal Senate were used. “We evaluated the expenditures, in reais, committed to these programs in the federal budgets of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The choice of which ones to analyze was made before determining budget trends,” explains researcher Luis Eugênio de Souza, who coordinated the program. study.

Of the 19 programs selected, 15 suffered reductions in the period. The largest budget cuts fell on the “Food and Nutrition Security” (-85%), “Decent Housing” (-82%) programs; “Facing racism and promoting racial equality” (-79%) and “Policies for women” (-64%). The survey points out that larger programs such as “Bolsa Família” and “Educação” also suffered cuts, which totaled more than R$ 15 billion in 2014 alone.

“In addition to the large overall budget reduction, it is important to note that the largest proportional reductions have occurred in programs targeting the most vulnerable populations. It is clear that the current austerity policies in Brazil can even harm the health of this population, ”he says.

Through the study, researchers aim to identify the possible impacts of austerity policies, including Constitutional Amendment 95/2016, which limited federal primary spending for the next 20 years, on the country’s chances of achieving the sustainable development goals set in the Agenda. 2030, agreement signed by Brazil and 193 member countries of the United Nations (UN) in 2015.

“In Brazil, inequalities manifest themselves in different dimensions: income and wealth, gender and race, access to goods and services, as well as regional and urban-rural inequalities. Solving this problem should be a priority, but our study shows that the measures taken can further increase these inequalities, ”he concludes.