Greek PM Tsipras Announces Welfare Handouts of 1.4bn Euros

The Greek government will distribute one-off welfare benefits totaling 1.4 billion euros, which was made possible by the economy’s outperformance, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday.

“For a second year, we are in a position to distribute a social dividend to the people who need it the most. Better prepared and more effective this year, we will be able to pay out an even bigger amount,” he said in a televised statement.

The social groups eligible for the benefit are the unemployed, the young and low income pensioners and will depend on income, assets and family situation.

Tsipras said that 720 million euros would be used as a one-off financial handout for households earning less than 18,000 euros annually, covering some 3.4 million people.

A total of 315 million euros would go for compensating health insurance costs incurred by pensioners, while the debt-laden electricity provider DEI would get 360 million euros to offer cheaper tariffs to poor consumers.

The benefit will be paid out to beneficiaries in December, the prime minister said.

These measures attest to “the political and social priorities” of the left-wing government, Tsipras said.

Tsipras had announced a similar measure in December last year worth 617 million euros mainly in the form of one-off payments.

Opposition reacts

Opposition parties reacted to the PM’s announcement by pointing out that the handouts were made possible by over taxing the middle class.

In a statement New Democracy said that the “Prime Minister of Taxation” announced a handout of 700 million euros “from the 14.5 billion he snatched from the pockets of Greek taxpayers.”

“He even had the audacity to present the reimbursement of pensioners’ contributions as a gift, when the Courts have already ruled in their favor,” ND said.

For its part, Potami commented that “when a politician distributes money, it’s not from his own pocket.”

“The money announced to be distributed by Tsipras, comes out of the pocket of those who daily struggle to pay their unbearable taxes.”

The leader of PASOK, Fofi Gennimata, said that the PM is trying to deceive the Greek people by distributing handouts from the tax booty.