Greece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Wednesday said that a family of four with an annual income of 12,000-18,000 euros is middle class, and they qualify for a social dividend of 500 euros.
Speaking in parliament, Tsakalotos said that the social dividend in December will be given to middle class families as well. The statement was in reply to criticism he had received a few days earlier, after admitting that the government had overtaxed the middle class in favor of the poorer social strata.
“A mom, a dad and two children with an income between 6,000 and 12,000 euros will receive 700 euros and those between 12,000 and 18,000 euros will receive a dividend of 500 euros. So I think it’s not just a dividend for the poorest of the poor, it’s a big part of the middle classes because an income of 12,000-18,000 euros is not in the lower part. That’s what we’re trying to do and overturn accusations that we have overtaxed the middle social strata,” Tsakalotos said.
The Greek government is to distribute 1.4 billion euros to an undefined number of citizens of low income. The issue has created controversy, as the government claims that the funds come from excess revenue, with the opposition claiming that the revenue is a result of overtaxing Greeks, while at the same time the government has overdue debts to the private sector exceeding 4 billion euros.
Nevertheless, opposition parties are expected to vote in favor of the social dividend despite their reservations. The issue was to be voted in parliament on Wednesday, but the ballot was postponed due to floods that were the cause of death of 15 people in western Attica.