Benefits make small dent in poverty


Excluding pensions, social benefits in Greece are far less effective compared to those in other European Union member-states when it comes to reducing the number of people at risk of poverty, according to Eurostat data for 2017.

Greece ranks last in the EU in the impact of so-called social transfers, not including pensions, as they only reduced the number of Greeks threatened by poverty by 15.83 percent, compared to an average rate of 32.4 percent in the EU as a whole.

Greece’s impact rate on combating poverty has been in decline since 2015, when it reached 16.08 percent. In 2016 it came to 15.87 percent.

The data were published on Tuesday as negotiations continue between Greece and its creditors on the matter of keeping the pensions issued before 2016 at their current level and the fiscal space that social handouts – such as housing benefits and support measures for young jobless people – will take.

The figures highlight the need to increase benefits to vulnerable social groups apart from pensioners, so as to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty. They also highlight the role of pensions in containing the poverty phenomenon despite the repeated cuts that have been made, and the extensive consequences another reduction would bring about.