BUSINESS

One in two households is supported by pensions

Greeks have slashed food, apparel, heating and travel spending By Dimitra Manifava

Nearly half of Greek households live on the pensions of their elderly relatives as an increasing number of retired parents support their jobless children and their respective families, a recent survey has shown.

The study compiled by the Institute for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE) also found that growing unemployment and the resulting dive in incomes has led households to slash their expenditures, even for food, often at the expense of quality.

Pensions constitute the main source of income for 48.6 percent of households, the survey conducted in December found, which is particularly disappointing as far as the country’s national product and its social welfare system are concerned, the institute stresses. Salaries are the main source of income for 35.9 percent of households and profits from enterprises for 10.3 percent.

With 94.6 percent of households responding that their incomes have dropped by an average rate of 39.5 percent, it is no surprise that 34.8 percent of households delay the payment of dues to the state, to social security funds, to utilities and to banks.

This trend is expected to gain momentum in 2014, as 41.7 percent out of the 1,201 households that participated in the survey expect to be unable to meet their basic obligations this year. Regarding tax obligations especially, 44 percent said they will not be able to meet requirements. Should this happen, it could mean major losses for state coffers. Accumulated debts are a major concern for many households and one in three homeowners is concerned the property could be repossessed.

The data collected showed that 63.7 percent of households have cut down on food spending, 78.4 percent on heating, 90.3 percent on apparel, 90.5 percent on take-away food and 88.8 percent on travel expenditure. The expense categories households try not to cut from are health and education.

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