Greece’s unemployment rate rose to a record 26 per cent, more than one fourth of the workforce. Source: AAP
GREECE’S unemployment rate rose to a new record of 26 per cent in September, underscoring the economic plight in the country as it heads toward a sixth year of recession.
The Greek Statistical Authority said on Thursday that 1.295 million people – more than one-fourth of the workforce in this nation of 10 million – were recorded as unemployed in September.
Unemployment rose from 25.3 per cent the previous month and 18.9 per cent a year earlier.
Greek unemployment has surged to the highest since the 1960s as a result of harsh austerity measures imposed in return for vital international rescue loans.
The conservative-led coalition government is finalising a major tax reform bill, one of international rescuers’ several conditions for continued payments.
It has promised to try to stem the country’s recession, despite being forced last month to introduce another round of deeply unpopular austerity measures that are part of Greece’s bailout commitments.
These measures include raising 3 billion euros ($A3.74 billion) in extra tax revenue.
A draft of the new tax bill presented to the conservatives’ two centre-left coalition partners late on Thursday calls for cuts in corporate tax rates from 40 to 33 per cent, a move meant to provide relief to employers struggling to cope with the crisis while maintaining a sufficient flow of tax revenue.
The draft also lowers the top income tax rate from 45 to 40 per cent, but it expands the number of people who would have to pay that rate by including all incomes over 40,000 euros a year.
The tax bill must be submitted to parliament for approval by Tuesday, two days before Greece is due to receive a new 34 billion euro rescue loan instalment.