Social dividend concerns State General Accounting Office

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Officials at the State General Accounting Office are concerned about the way that the “social dividend” pledged by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras from the primary budget surplus will be distributed.

The draft budget for 2018 includes a sum of 800 million euros destined for supporting growth and social cohesion, while the Finance Ministry says in a statement that “the precise amount and the support measures will be defined based on the data of the execution of the 2017 budget in November.”

A senior ministry official recently explained that this time the benefit will not concern pensions, but could increase the minimum guaranteed income, pay off expired debts or fund growth programs.

A senior source at the Accounting Office notes that one obvious destination for the handout will be the recipients of the Solidarity Social Income. However, it will be impossible to distribute the entire 800 million euros to this group as it would exceed the total budget provided for the 270,000 recipients for this year (amounting to 630 million).

The same source also warns that channeling the 800 million euros into growth programs would “entail other risks,” as the programs may not run within the year, as required for the “social dividend.”

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