Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, at the 86th TIF in Thessaloniki, announced a package of 21 support measures aimed at alleviating the situation of students, pensioners, vulnerable citizens, as well as preserving jobs and stimulating businesses.
Permanent and emergency measures amount to 5.5 billion, not counting the monthly electricity subsidy for everyone.
In particular, the Prime Minister announced:
- In December, 2,300,000 of the most vulnerable fellow citizens will again receive financial support. The amount of support will be 250 euros and will be provided to low-income pensioners, uninsured elderly people, the disabled and the long-term unemployed. While recipients of the minimum guaranteed income will receive another monthly payment, and recipients of child support – one and a half payments.
- The housing allowance for students is immediately increased from 1,000 euros to 1,500 euros. This will facilitate the daily lives of tens of thousands of students in the cities where they study. In addition, for eligible students who choose to live together in the same rented accommodation, the allowance will be increased to 2,000 euros per person.
- Last year, the heating benefit increased from 84 million to 174 million. Today it will reach 300 million. The criteria are being expanded to provide assistance to approximately 1.3 million households. At the same time, for those beneficiaries who consume oil or other fuels other than gas for the first time this year, the allowance will be doubled. A strong incentive to replace electricity or gas with other types of heating, I emphasize, where this can be done. While we are studying and will soon be ready to announce a special intervention that will reduce the cost of heating oil at the pump for all Greek consumers.
- For the primary sector, for our farmers and livestock breeders. As a protection against fertilizer costs, a subsidy of 60 million euros will be paid to farmers. And 50,000 livestock farms will receive 89 million to cope with increased feed prices.
- The number of beneficiaries of the successful Recycle-Replace Home Appliances program will now increase by 200,000. For these purposes, we will allocate 140 million euros from the Public Investment Program. More importantly, we provide the necessary space in the network so that it can now receive electricity for consumption from individual producers. We will finance 250,000 small photovoltaic systems on the roofs of residential buildings, enterprises, farms, which will consume their own energy for free. This program will be announced shortly by the Ministries of Energy and Development.
- After a hugely successful summer tourism season, we want to provide additional incentives to extend it, mainly by expanding the Tourism for All program to reach an additional 200,000 new beneficiaries. So that our fellow citizens do not feel that due to the economic crisis they were not able to go on vacation this year. In order to extend the tourist season for the winter period, we will approve additional funds. They will be provided for the promotion of Greece together with the Greek National Tourism Organization, with airlines, with tour operators for the period until March 2023.
- Not all, but a number of requests from the Armed Forces are immediately settled: the progression of the wages of conscripts and short-term soldiers. Extension of the 5-year combat period and night allowance. At the same time, an additional payment is introduced for the crews of warships on combat duty.
- In order to create more permanent jobs, from tomorrow until the end of 2023, those companies that convert the contracts of their part-time employees to full-time will be exempted from 40% of the social insurance contributions of these employees. And something for the self-employed and small businesses planning a new hire. On one condition, if they increase the average annual number of full-time employees, they will not pay self-employment tax that year.
The package of measures that will come into force from January 2023:
- The 3 point reduction in social security contributions becomes permanent. A measure that increases the disposable income of 2,200,000 workers while reducing the wage burden on businesses.
The special contribution of solidarity is abolished forever and for everyone – public and private employees and pensioners. The burden of memos is done away with, and nearly 3 million taxpayers have been relieved.
- In the public sector, along with the abolition of the solidarity contribution and the first introduction of rewards for achieving goals, the non-contributory contribution to the former Workers’ Welfare Fund is also being discontinued. Another relief. In practice, the head of the public sector department receives a benefit of 364 euros per year. An ordinary employee, newly hired, will receive a benefit of 109 euros, a manager 591 euros and a general manager 1125 euros.
- Many years later, the pensions of 1,500,000 pensioners with low or no personal differences were increased. The size of the increase will be determined by 50% of GDP growth and 50% of the change in the consumer price index. It is estimated that this year it will be more than 6%. Pensioners with a high personal differential will see an increase in their income not by increasing pensions, which will reduce the size of the personal differential, but by eliminating the solidarity contribution, since it is mainly about pensioners with higher pensions.
- The special salary scale for 20,000 NHS doctors is being reformed as of 1/1/2023 with increases in base salary and liability allowances. The increase will average about 10% of their total salary.
- At the same time, the reform of the salary schedule of almost 600,000 civil servants is beginning. With a focus on low-paid workers, but also supporting those in positions of responsibility. And for the purpose of implementation from 1/1/2024.
- To support the family, solve demographic problems and restore fairness to young mothers, the private sector maternity allowance is immediately extended from 6 to 9 months.
Reduced VAT on transport, coffee and soft drinks is extended until June 2023. The same will apply to culture and tourism, gyms and dance schools. However, the 24% VAT on new construction remains suspended until the end of 2024 to support the construction sector.
- The operating structure of the Greek capital market is being reformed with the provision of significant investment and tax incentives.
- From 1/1/2023, in order to improve the quality of life in local communities, the central autonomous resources of local authorities will be increased by 120 million euros per year. Money that will be embodied in projects for everyone. With the advent of the new year, the process of a new adjustment of the minimum wage begins, as we have already done twice. Our goal is to put it into effect on May 1, 2023.
- The measures I’m announcing today, one-time for the remainder of 2022 and permanent from 2023, total about $5.5 billion, not counting the monthly electricity subsidy for everyone.
- A €1.8 billion program is planned for more than 100,000 beneficiaries, with a range of initiatives to help them buy or rent cheaper housing. These activities will begin next month. While those related to new construction will obviously be developed gradually.
- In addition to increasing the housing allowance for students from 1,000 to 1,500 euros and, under certain conditions, up to 2,000 euros for 50,000 young people, the construction of 8,150 beds in five modern student hostels at the universities of Crete, Thessaly, Western Macedonia, Thrace and Western Attica begins immediately. The sites have already been identified, and the work will be carried out under the PPP.
- A special lending program of €500 million is being launched in principle, with co-financing of €375 million from the state and €125 million from banks. What is our goal? To provide a very low, almost zero interest rate for the purchase of the first housing by thousands of our fellow citizens under the age of 39 in areas with old buildings. In practice, a married couple, having made a minimum contribution, will buy a house worth 100,000 euros with monthly installments of 275 euros. The amount, in other words, is much less than the rent they will pay.
- Precisely to improve tenure and renovate old homes, we are also creating a targeted Save and Renovate program for 20,000 young people. Each beneficiary will receive up to 20,000 euros for energy improvements to their property, as well as an additional grant of 3,000 euros and a low interest loan of up to 7,000 euros.
- As an incentive, at least 10,000 owners of closed properties will receive a state subsidy of up to 10,000 euros for their renovation. But with the obligation to rent it out for a long-term lease. Thus, the state will cover up to 40% of the cost of repairing each closed apartment.
- Public lands and buildings are also being subjected to a “quid pro quo”: the state will offer its idle assets to private developers who will build modern housing at their own expense. Half of these will be leased at low rents to new tenants, while the remainder will be commercially operated by private developers.
Also, in order to increase the real estate available to the Greeks, the investment limit for the Golden VISA license has been increased from 250,000 to 500,000 euros.
- From December the program “Estia 2” will be launched. As part of it, the state at the first stage will lease 1,000 private facilities. Then make them available to vulnerable households through express procedures and very low rents.
PS An excellent pre-election program, which the opposition has nothing to cover. Only one question – is everything on credit again? And at what percentage? One “operednik” has already received so many loans that Greece already owes 220% of GDP. Now the country is paying with state property, which is cheaply transferred to the property of foreign states. What’s next? How will we pay after all state property is sold? After all, despite privatization, the national debt is growing by leaps and bounds.