Greece outlines first anti-poverty measures

Greeces leftist government on Monday outlined a first batch of measures to combat poverty to be approved by parliament in coming days.

According to a government document seen by AFP, the measures include free electricity, rent support and food stamps.

The plans come after Greece reached a hard-fought deal with European leaders on a four-month extension of its debt bailout.

Greece is under obligation to its international creditors to refrain from adopting measures that could push the state budget back into deficit.

But several government officials have argued that the bill is cost-neutral and will help boost demand in the crisis-hit economy.

“The government has pledged to halt (the country’s) course towards complete social disaster,” a government source said.

“Therefore, the first bill to be submitted to parliament concerns measures to deal with the humanitarian crisis,” the source added.

No date was given for the bill’s adoption by parliament.

According to the plan, the government will reconnect electricity to households unable to pay their bills and provide up to 300 kilowatt hours free of charge this year.

Up to 30,000 households will also receive a monthly rent stipend of between 70 and 220 euros ($79-249).

And 300,000 people will be given stamps for food and other basic goods from companies participating in the scheme.

Priority will be given to families with small children, the unemployed and the poor, the document said.

Last year, Greece had a jobless rate of 26.4 percent and a poverty rate of 23.1 percent, according to the state statistics agency.


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