Greek opposition leader pledges to spread security net for poorest

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday unveiled a set of eight welfare measures, including families without incomes not having to pay any tax, that a leftist government would aim to introduce to protect vulnerable groups from the effects of the crisis.

With his party’s poll ratings stagnant recently, Tsipras visited the working-class district of Drapetsona near Piraeus to assure supporters that SYRIZA has society’s weakest members in mind. He suggested that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras does not.

“Perhaps Mr Samaras does not see poverty where he lives in [the affluent suburb of] Kifissia,” said Tsipras. “Perhaps he should come down to Drapetsona and take a look.”

The proposals put forward by Tsipras include plans to write off the debt owed by families who live below the poverty line, give families who have no breadwinner a moratorium from taxes, and create a housing program along the lines of Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My Home, My Life) launched by former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2009.

Tsipras also proposed that the most hard-up families should not have to pay for basic needs such as water and electricity, while the poor should also receive free healthcare even if their social insurance has lapsed. “First we will secure food, water, electricity and medicines for all people and then we will pay interest and maturing bonds,” he said. Tsipras did not say how much his proposals would cost.