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maintaining social relationships | criteria | basket | cost

Maintaining social relationships - basket

In order for individuals to be able to maintain relationships that offer emotional and affective
support, they need to meet.

In our society, it is customary on such occasions to present a small
gift. Even if there is no obligation, such a gesture tends to be appreciated.
For keeping in touch with friends and relatives, for contacts with the school of the children,
and in order to be able to call a doctor or the emergency services, a telephone is indispensable.
In consultation with the focus groups, we opted to include a mobile telephone.

The use of computer and other multimedia applications (digital camera, electronic ID, internet
banking…) has become so established in a variety of social networks in our society (at home,
family, friends, during holidays or outings, at school, in clubs … ) that people can no longer
go without and not run the risk of social exclusion. Computers are used not only for
maintaining social relationships; they also serve an important information and leisure
function. For each household, we include a computer with internet connectivity, a printer,
printer paper and a digital camera.

Celebrations and feasts serve various purposes, but one of the most important is undoubtedly
that they bring people closer together. Feasts which according to the respondents in the focus
groups are customarily celebrated are: Easter, Christmas and New Year, St Nicholas (in
households with children) and the birthdays of all household members. For primary school
children, we take into account a separate party for friends (see also the security-in-childhood
basket). Feasts imply a festive meal, for which we foresee a budget that is twice as much as
that for the daily budget from the healthy food basket. Births, First Communion or the ‘Spring
Ceremony’ are celebrated in a broader family circle. The organisation of such feasts entails
costs for invitations, clothing, food, drink and decorations. As households may have to save
up for certain larger feasts, we foresee a cost per child amounting to the depreciation cost of a
feast over a six-year period. Birthday parties also imply a cost for presents and birthday cards,
which are likewise included in the budget.

At the explicit request of the focus groups, the budget for relationships also encompasses the
cost of pets: pets are seen as a source of comfort and friendship, they liven things up and they
encourage exercise (Etho News, 112).

Finally, we take account of certain mandatory costs associated with membership of Flemish
(or Belgian) society in general. For example, every citizen over the age of twelve who is
registered with the population registry must, by law, hold an identity card. Citizens are also
required to pay taxes. For the sixteen families covered in the study, we calculated the
household tax levied by the province of Antwerp and the so-called crisis tax as levied by the
municipal authorities of Turnhout. Federal income tax is not applicable to the sixteen
households as their income is too low.

Apart from taxes, the budget also takes account of household refuse collection costs.




K.H.Kempen Vlaamse overheid CSB ULG