ΑTHENS – Greece’s ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition, plummeting in polls after reneging on anti-austerity promises, has increased family welfare benefits by 40 percent overall, but some families will see them taken away completely.
It wasn’t explained why, but the government said families with up to two children will get a big boost while those with three children will get nothing, losing their benefits completely.
That’s part of changes in the allowance and income criteria in a bill going to Parliament which Kathimerini reported it had seen. It will increase the overall budget to 910 million euros ($1.091 billion) from 650 million euros ($779.73 million) as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras continues a pattern of handouts, this one going to 698,800 households while 14,529 will lose them, a net gain of 684,271 families and potential voters.
All of the one-off benefits and other bonuses – such as power bill reductions, housing allowances, social dividends, heating oil subsidies, etc – are being granted according to identical terms and criteria, critics say, which could further increase tax evasion in the wake of a new avalanche of taxes from the government, which includes the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL).