Athens, January 22, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
With more than one in three households stating that it lives with an annual family income below EUR 10,000, and 70% expecting a deterioration of the situation this year, the data of the survey of GSEBEE on the financial situation of households in 2015 and their expectations can be described as disappointing and worrying to say the least.
The impoverishement of Greek society continued in 2015, while it should be taken into consideration in view of the changes in Social Security that for 51.8% of the households’ main source of income is pension. Even the fact that 33.9% of the households, ie more than 1 million households have at least one unemployed person in the family.
In particular, regarding the expectations of households for 2016, these are recorded in the Small Business Institute survey of GSEBEE on the income and household spending for 2015, overwhelmingly negative, since 70% is expecting the worsening of their economic situation and only 5.1% expect an improvement of its economic potential.
Presenting the research findings, the president of GSEBEE, Giorgos Kavathas, estimates that this year more businesses will close and jobs will be lost, as several SMEs have already shrunk considerably in recent years, so we have no alternative but to cease their operation.
According to the survey’s data, 94.2% of the households showed a significant reduction in revenue, after the outbreak of the crisis, with a clear trend to widen inequality in favour of the 1% of the population. Indeed, an income decline was recorded in 2015 for 77.9% of households.
It also follows that the inequalities that had developed throughout the course of the crisis remain unchanged in 2015, with many new arrangements of the third programme having already added burden on family budgets and household incomes. From the survey data it can be seen that 80% of Greek households is living in much worse conditions (quantitative and qualitative) in relation to the previous period.
As commented by Mr Kavathas: “Of course, the charges of the second memorandum that were maintained, as well as others that were added with the new third memorandum programme, worsen the prospects of domestic demand, consumption and living standards. Indeed, regulations such as the lifting of the suspension of auctions, the rise of taxes and levies, surcharges, provided in the new Social Security bill, is expected to further shrink the potential consumption”.
Particularly worrisome is the find of the research, according to which pensions are the main source of income for 51.8% of households, while the figure in 2012 was 42.3%. What’s more, if it is combined with the fact that households who declare income from a business as their main source of income amounts to only 6,1% (from 12.6% in 2012) becomes apparent the severe decline in business activity.
The problemme of over-indebtedness, poverty and social deprivation in Greece was the subject of extensive discussion in the recent UN experts to the country, says the GSEBEE.
In meetings with social partners that was held in Athens in early December 2015, was stressed the need to rapidly restore the macroeconomic balance with swift agreement for the impairment of debt and measures for the social cohesion and human rights.
The positions of GSEBEE remain firmly in favour of the parallel configuration of a national plan for the development and productive restructuring with incentives for small and medium entrepreneurship and employment and of a regulation framework to ensure social cohesion and will increase social automation.