Damian Mac Con Uladh

Posts Tagged ‘Social justice’

‘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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Greece comes last in EU social justice index

In General, Greek crisis on 16 September 2014 at 10:34 am
An image from the report's cover

An image from the report’s cover

A report that found that Greece ranks last among the EU’s 28 members in terms of social justice has urged the government to do more to concentrate its efforts not only on returning to a stable path of growth, but also on improving participation opportunities for a broader portion of the population.

Published by the German Bertelsmann Foundation, the report (pdf) said while Greece, along with Spain and Italy, has a comparably high GDP per capita, it performed “far worse” in the social justice index rankings, which measures performance in poverty prevention, access to education, access to the labour market, social cohesion, non-discrimination, health and intergenerational equity.

“Greece is at the bottom of the ranking with a youth unemployment rate of nearly 60%, a rapid increase in the risk of poverty, particularly among children and youth, a health care system badly undermined by austerity measures, discrimination against minorities as a result of strengthened radical political forces, and an enormous mountain of debt that represents a mortgage on the future of coming generations,” the report found.

“The resulting diminution of prospects for broad swathes of society represents a significant danger to the country’s political and social stability. These developments illustrate that the cuts induced by the crisis are not administered in a balanced way throughout the population,” it noted.

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