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Most Greeks Find it Hard to Make Ends Meet

More than half of all Greeks have trouble paying their bills, the country’s statistics agency said on Friday, as efforts to meet the country’s bailout terms drive up poverty and income inequality.
Almost two thirds – 63 percent – of Greeks make ends meet “with difficulty” or “with great difficulty”, according to the ELSTAT agency’s survey on income and living conditions in 2011.
Greek incomes have fallen sharply since 2010, mainly because of repeated rounds of spending cuts and tax hikes to meet the terms of a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund and avoid national bankruptcy.
Unemployment has hit 25 percent and public sector wages have been cut by about a third. Athens plans to cut them further still next week, in what the government has said will be a “last austerity package”.
The 2011 survey said almost a fifth of respondents couldn’t keep their home adequately warm.
About a third of all respondents are late in paying rent, mortgages and credit card payments. Just over half said they couldn’t afford a one-week holiday away from home.
The ratio of Greek households at risk of poverty increased to 21.4 percent last year, from 20.1 percent in 2010, ELSTAT said on Friday.
This is fourth-worst in the European Union, after Bulgaria, Romania and Spain, according to the release.
(source: Reuters, ELSTAT)

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