One in two pensioners lose money from Tsipras’s ‘squaring the circle’ speech

Despite the PM’s statements that 90% of pensions were untouched

Despite the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’s claim that he had managed to ’square the circle’ during his speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair, Sunday, the numbers paint a different story regarding the cuts in pensions. Half of the Greek pensioners (1.2 million) saw a cuts in their meagre incomes ranging from a few Euros to 230 Euros (abolition of the EKAS benefit). Tsipras, as well as Labour Minister George Katrougalos, might have persisted emphatically that 90% of pensions remained untouched, but pensions amounting to over 800 million Euros will be cut by the end of 2016. More specifically: More than 150,000 low pension holders saw the EKAS benefit disappear or receive less, while a further 150,000 will also lose the EKAS benefit on December 31, as the government has decided to save 400 million Euros from the EKAS expenditure for 2017. Another 250,000 pensioners eligible for supplementary pensions lost 50%, 100,000 of whom were out between 100 and 150 Euros per month. 280,000 supplementary beneficiaries lost 70 Euros a month. All pensioners have seen cuts in their net income due to an increase in contributions to main and supplementary pensions, while the implementation of the 6% withholding for the past year has resulted in 100-Euro deductions per month in the pensioners in the higher bracket. The losses are massive for those eligible for two pensions, mainly widow pensions. The average high pensions were cut due to the reduction of the tax threshold. 150,000 new pensioners will lose up to 20%, while thousands saw an 18% mean cut in their lump sum. Meanwhile, pensioners will also feel the pinch at the end of the month, as every main pension over 2,000 Euros will be reduced until the end of 2018. 11,000 bank pensioners will also see their incomes reduced in October. The government hopes to save around 800 million Euros through pension by the end of the year.