ATHENS – The New Democracy government’s scheme to give lower-income Greek households a 10 percent subsidy for their groceries was ridiculed by the PASOK-KINAL center-left group as essentially crumbs for the hungry.
The party has been rising in polls with 2023 elections beginning to come into play in what is pre-campaign tactics and it said the plan “obviously does not compensate for the double bleeding of a large majority of citizens’ income following the high inflation rate and increased expenses due to consumption taxes,” reported the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency ANA-MPA.
PASOK said it has proposals to deal with inflation and that Mitsotakis “instead of showing up like a miracle worker who multiplies five loaves of bread and two fish” should follow them, but didn’t explain what they were.
Mitsotakis earlier backed away from a pledge to consider lowering the 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food even with supermarket prices so high many people can’t afford them.
The government also has set up a Household Basket plan in which the markets have 51 essential goods at lower prices but those too have been criticized as not being enough to help.
PASOK-KINAL said food prices are the highest in 13 years – a small package of chicken can run as high as 13 euros ($13.81) – and noted that the state’s statistical service ELSTAT said they’ve risen 15-25.3 percent.
For this reason, the party said, the idea of a “10% interest rate, 10% refund” is a joke, especially ahead of national elections, the report added, as banks are charging high levels of interest on loans and virtually nothing for deposits.
“The food pass will absorb only a small part of inflation – it works like an aspirin and fully shows the failure of the much-advertised but full-of-holes shopper’s basket,” PASOK-KINAL added.