Poverty-stricken quarter of the town of Beit Lahiya

Greece and Cyprus recorded the highest increase in the percentage at risk of poverty or social exclusion between 2008 and 2015”, according to “Eurostat,” the European Union’s Statistical Office.

In Cyprus, 23.3% of the population were in danger of poverty and social exclusion in 2008, or 180,000 people, a figure that rose to 28.9%, or 240,000 people, in 2015.

These figures are a reply to the “success story” propagated by the government and the Finance Minister’s celebrations that we had supposedly overcome the crisis.

Unfortunately the brutal austerity imposed by the government has created thousands of victims. With 240,000 of our compatriots at risk of poverty, Cyprus holds the tragic worst position as far as the EU’s social map is concerned.

For AKEL, development and growth can’t just be judged in economic figures. On the contrary, development and growth should be reflected and spread in society with the welfare and prosperity of the majority of the people, and not of the privileged select few, as the measurable criterion.

According to the Ministry of Finance and DISY party fiscal discipline has brought growth. For AKEL fiscal discipline and the tidying up of the economy being pursued due to long-standing mistakes and omissions is one thing and vicious austerity – which has led to the impoverishment of our people – is something else.

As AKEL, we expected from the government that after more than three years of austerity it would target growth and strengthen social cohesion in the country in the new State Budget.

Unfortunately the Government has once again failed, insisting on pursuing neoliberal austerity policy to which it remains hooked on, indeed at a time when many of its like-minded associates are abandoning it as a disastrous recipe.

 

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