Athens, 30 July 2019 (dpa/MIA) – The Greek parliament on Tuesday approved tax cuts and measures to help people struggling to pay off their debts put forward by new centre-right Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Under the new measures, those who owe money to the state and pension funds can now pay it back in 120 monthly instalments. In addition, property taxes will be reduced by an average of 22 per cent.
In a debate broadcast on television, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the people of Greece owe the state a total of more than 104 billion euros.
“The problems of our citizens cannot wait,” Mitsotakis said. “We are helping millions of people and businesses … We want to revive the middle class and the real estate sector,” he added, saying this would boost the economy.
Further tax cuts are set to be approved by parliament next week. Among other things, people earning up to 10,000 euros (11,150 dollars) per year will have their tax rate reduced from 22 per cent to 9 per cent, according to the government.
Mitsotakis’ Nea Dimokratia (ND) party won parliamentary elections on July 7 with 39.6 per cent of the vote. The party of the former left-wing head of government Alexis Tsipras came second with 31.5 per cent. The ND won enough seats in parliament to govern alone.
The elections reflected the widespread discontent with Tsipras after four years of austerity because of reforms he was forced to implement in return for an international bailout. Greece has been mired in a deep financial crisis since 2010 and emerged from the bailout programmes only last August.