No help for subsistence fishermen

Many residents of the northern and eastern Aegean islands who applied for the so-called special supplementary social dividend were in for a nasty surprise, as they were deemed ineligible because they own an amateur fishing boat, perceived as evidence of a luxurious lifestyle.

A sum of 25 million euros has been set aside for the one-off handout, which is directed at the residents of small islands in the prefectures of Evros, Lesvos, Chios, Samos and the Dodecanese (the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros, Rhodes, Kos and Karpathos are left out). The purpose of the benefit is to offset the effects of the abolition of a value-added tax discount of 30 percent on those islands as of January 1, and it ranges from 500 to 2,100 euros. 

According to the rules of the handout, recipients cannot be taxpayers who are listed as enjoying a lavish lifestyle. This is also indicated – among many other factors – by ownership of any boat that has a length 5 meters or above, meaning that dozens of subsistence fishermen have to pay the luxury tax – and are also being deprived of the handout for island residents.

Rhodes’s Rodiaki newspaper cites the example of a pensioner who lives on Symi who was informed that he does not qualify for the handout because of his 27-year-old fishing boat.