BUSINESS

Gov’t breeding a free lunch mentality

ROULA SALOUROU, THANOS TSIROS

TAGS: Finance

The government is introducing a new structure to family benefits, changing the size of the allowance and the income criteria used to help families with up to two children, according to the final form of the bill, seen by Kathimerini, that will be present to Parliament this week.

The redistribution of the budget for family benefits, which has been boosted by 40 percent to 910 million this year from 650 million euros in 2017, will result in an increase to the allowance received by 698,800 households. On the other hand, some 14,529 families, most of them with three children and with an annual income in excess of 33,000 euros, will lose the benefit entirely.

Critics of the new system argue that it is part of the government’s policy of offering handouts rather than creating jobs and helping the economy. This policy is also  creating serious distortions in the market, they add.

All of the one-off benefits and other bonuses – such as power bill reductions, housing allowances, social dividends, heating oil subsidies, etc – are being granted according to identical terms and criteria, critics say, making taxpayers increasingly reluctant to declare their real incomes in their tax declarations, as they know this would possibly entail losing of money they could get without having to make any effort.

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