Greeks cutting back as EU/IMF help looms-survey

ATHENS, April 17 (BestGrowthStock) – Athenians are tightening their
belts following government austerity measures and most believe
a potential euro zone and IMF aid deal will further erode
living standards if Greece activates it, a survey showed on
Saturday.

Struggling to rein in a huge budget deficit and a 300
billion euro public debt load, the socialist administration is
slashing spending to halt a crisis that has caused investors to
ditch its assets and has shaken the single currency.

Last month, the government cut the pay of about 600,000
public sector workers, froze pensions and raised taxes to
reduce its shortfall in public finances this year by almost a
third to 8.7 percent of gross domestic product.

Half of those surveyed said their salaries no longer
covered their needs. One third said they spent less on clothing
and a quarter said they were not eating out as much, the poll,
conducted in the capital by Athens Economics and Business
University showed.

Seven out of 10 believed the aid deal, if tapped, would
lead to a further deterioration of their living standards,
while half said Greece’s fiscal woes would last more than five
years, according to the survey published in To Vima newspaper.

Athens has yet to ask to activate the euro zone and
International Monetary Fund aid mechanism. But it has suffered
a spike in borrowing costs that is threatening to thwart its
deficit-reduction plan, and has asked to start talks with
officials on Monday to discuss its details.

At an estimated value of 45 billion euros in the first
year, the package would be the biggest multilateral bailout
ever attempted. But the prospect of looking for outside help
has angered many Greeks.

A poll on Friday showed most of the country’s 11 million
people were unhappy with the socialist government’s
performance, although they still supported it over the
conservative opposition. Some 66 percent believed social unrest
would mount in the coming months.

Greece’s most powerful trade unions have staged a series of
strikes against the austerity steps since the start of the year
and plan more this month. The civil servants union will down
tools for 24 hours on April 22.

Stock Market News
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Bill Tarrant)

Greeks cutting back as EU/IMF help looms-survey