Damian Mac Con Uladh

Posts Tagged ‘Social exclusion’

Unicef: Greece suffers ‘great leap backwards’ in child poverty

In Greece on 29 October 2014 at 11:09 am
(Graphic: Unicef)

(Graphic: Unicef)

Child poverty rates have more than doubled in Greece since 2008, affecting two in every five children, the UN’s child agency has said, in a report that underlines the negative impact of austerity measures on children, particularly in the Mediterranean region..

A report (pdf) issued on October 28, as thousands of children were taking part in school parades across Greece, Unicef found that 40.5% of children in Greece were living households were income is below the poverty line in 2012, the highest rate in world’s 41 most affluent countries.

Unicef said that 2.6m children have sunk below the poverty line in these countries since 2008, bringing the total number of children in the “developed” world living in poverty to an estimated 76.5m.

In 23 of the 41 countries analysed, child poverty has increased since 2008, with Iceland experiencing the greatest jump, followed by Greece, Latvia, Croatia and Ireland, where the difference was more than 50% on pre-crisis levels.

In Greece’s case, the child poverty rate jumped 17.5 points, from 23% in 2008 to 40.5% in 2012. The country also witnessed a trebling in the proportion of children who are income poor and severely deprived.

The report said that in Greece and Spain, poor children were further below the poverty line in 2013 than they were in 2008. Children in migrant households were more adversely affected, with poverty rates increasing by 35 percentage points compared with 15 percentage points for all other children.

The report also found that the 2012 median Greek household incomes for families with children sank to 1998 levels – the equivalent of a loss of 14 years of income progress. In real terms, that meant that the since 2008, the percentage of households with children unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or a vegetable equivalent) every second day increased by 18% Greece in 2012.

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Misleading headlines accompany launch of Greece’s guaranteed minimum income scheme

In General, Greek crisis on 15 October 2014 at 12:18 am
Screengrabs of the misleading headlines on the government-controlled ANA news agency

Screengrabs of the somewhat misleading headlines on the government-controlled ANA news agency

It sounded too good to be true: on Tuesday, Greece’s state-run ANA news agency announced that the government was launching a scheme that would ensure “700,000 persons” would receive a guaranteed minimum income.

“Govt presents ‘minimum guaranteed income’ for 700,000 persons,” trumpeted the main story on ANA’s English-language site, while its parent Greek-language site declared “«Δίχτυ ασφαλείας» για 700.000 δικαιούχους ανακοίνωσε η κυβέρνηση”.

On both sites, the story was illustrated with photographs of the prime minister, Antonis Samaras, who attended and spoke at the launch of the measure, as did the deputy premier, Evangelos Venizelos, and the labour minister, Yiannis Vroutsis.

“The implementation of the measure will start on a pilot basis in 13 municipalities and will cover a [sic] 7 percent of the population, that is 700,000 persons,” read the ANA wire on the launch. (Or, as it said in in Greek, “Το πρόγραμμα θα εφαρμοστεί πιλοτικά σε 13 δήμους της χώρας και θα καλύψει περίπου το 7% του πληθυσμού δηλαδή 700.000 άτομα.”)

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‘We’re dying to pay our taxes’

In General, Greek crisis on 6 October 2014 at 9:42 am

This is the transcript of a “Reporter’s notebook” piece I did for BBC Radio Scotland’s “Good Morning Scotland” programme that was broadcast on Saturday 4 October 2014. 

Like thousands of citizens, Nikolas Elliniadis had left it to deadline day to go to his bank, in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, to pay the first of six instalments of Greece’s new property tax, the latest levy to hit a population beleaguered after five years of austerity.

Finding a long queue, the 70-year-old pensioner took a number, sat down and prepared himself for a long wait in the crowded room as flustered officials tried to process a last-minute deluge of property tax remittances.

In many cases, these were being paid with pensions that had been distributed only the day before.

An hour and a half later, after saying he wasn’t feeling well, Elliniadis collapsed.

He was having a heart attack. Although his fellow customers and the emergency services did what they could, he was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

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Greece is the only EU country without guaranteed minimum income, report finds

In General, Greek crisis on 26 September 2014 at 10:36 am
poverty is the parent of revolution and crime

‘Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime’ – Aristotle. Graffiti in the Exarchia district of Athens (Photo: aestheticsofcrisis/Flickr)

Greece is the only EU country not to have implemented a guaranteed minimum income and is among the most sluggish in adopting programmes to address social inequality and aid citizens living in extreme poverty and social exclusion, a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office (GPK) has found.

This is despite the fact that six in ten citizens are living in or at risk of poverty, the GPK report (pdf), which was published on Thursday, said.

“The demand for social responsibility on the part of citizens is pronounced but what the state offers is characterised by fragmentation and administrative problems. Thus the social safety net is characterised by inefficiency, while at the same time there is are no expectations that income lost due to the economic downturn will be replenished in the near future,” the report stated.

The government has said that, this month, a new €20m, six-month pilot programme will begin in 13 municipalities which will provide what it says is a minimum income. Monthly payments will range from €200 a month for a single person on no income to €400 for a married couple with two underage children with no other earnings.

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