Greek households hit hard by price increases: Survey

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The income of one in two households in Greece lasted until the 19th of each month on average in 2021, according to the results of a survey released recently in Athens.

The survey was conducted in late 2021 by the Small Enterprises’ Institute (IME) of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants (GSEVEE), Xinhua news agency reported.

One in two respondents to the survey expected their income to further shrink in 2022 due to rising inflation linked to skyrocketing energy costs, and to struggle to meet their obligations to the tax office, insurance funds and lenders.

“There was an increase for 65 per cent of households in expenses to cover house bills, while more than 50 per cent had to spend more on food, heating and transportation,” GSEVEE President George Kavvathas told Xinhua on Thursday.

The situation has deteriorated since the start of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, he said.

Recent figures from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) showed that Greece’s annual inflation rate increased to 7.2 per cent in February, hitting a 26-year high.

The sharp rise was attributed mainly to a 78.5 per cent hike in the prices for natural gas, 71.4 per cent for electricity, 41.5 per cent for heating oil and 23.2 per cent for fuel and lubricants.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents in an opinion poll presented on Wednesday evening on local MEGA television said their financial situation had worsened compared to a year ago.

The government has recently announced a series of measures to help households and businesses cope with the crisis, but according to Kavvathas and other professionals and citizens more is needed.

“Most important of all, in my opinion, is the reduction of value-added tax (VAT) on basic food products from 13 to six per cent, even as a temporary measure to mitigate the effects of the hike on the daily basic food products of households,” he said.

The GSEVEE is also calling for an imminent reduction of taxes on fuel and a ceiling on electricity and natural gas prices, as well as the close monitoring of the country’s stock of food products such as sunflower oil and flour to prevent profiteering.

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