EnetEnglish.gr, 20:45 Wednesday 20 November 2013
Rich have got richer as result of the crisis
And the poor have become poorer
Whereas in 2009 the wealthiest fifth of the population had incomes that were five times more than the poorer fifth, they now earn 7.5 times more, a conference organised by the Parliamentary Budget Office is told
The gap between the rich and poor in Greece has increased since the beginning of the crisis, with the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer, a conference held in parliament heard on Tuesday.
Whereas in 2009 the wealthiest fifth of the population had incomes that were five times higher than the poorer fifth, they now earn 7.5 times more, according to Manos Matsanganis, an associate professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business.
He was speaking at the "Fiscal consolidation: How fair is the distribution of the burden?" conference organised by the Parliamentary Budget Office.
"The poor are now 56% poorer in comparison to those who were in financial difficulty in 2009," Matsanganis, an associate professor of European social and employment policies, said.
He added that 42% of the population now have incomes that are less than the poverty line – set at 60% of the median household income – as it existed in 2009.
The hardest hit were the unemployed, private-sector workers, a large section of the self -employed and young people. Less affected by the fall in income, he said, were farmers and employees in state-owned utilities.
"The vast majority of the unemployed have been out of work for over 12 months, while only 15% of them are receiving unemployment benefits," he added. The situation for the elderly has deteriorated significantly in terms of income, but their situation based on income levels and living standards, especially as they are now obliged to pay for their hospital fees and medicines.
The general climate has been made worse by the reduction in unemployment benefits and the special property tax levied through electricity bills.
Addressing the same conference, Georgia Kaplanoglou, an assistant professor of economics at Athens University, said that the percentage of the population living below the poverty threshold had increased from 19% before the country signed up to the troika austerity memorandum to 28.9%.
She also showed, citing relevant data, that the increase in excise duty on home heating fuel had disproportionately burdened the middle and poorer classes.
Stavros Zografakis, an associate professor at the Agricultural University of Athens, said that 600,000 people were earning above €1,000 before the crisis are no longer making that amount.