The number of beneficiaries of the heating allowance is expanding, after the increase of the total amount to 300 million euros from 174 million euros in the last period, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Monday in an interview with public broadcaster ERT1.
According to the minister, the income criteria for eligibility have increased to 16,000 euros per year from 14,000 euros for those that are single and to 24,000 euros from 20,000 euros for couples, increased by 3,000 euros for each child.
The minister said that the fund that will be allocated for pensioners amounts to 1.1 billion euros.
Asked about the possibility of subsidising natural gas, he stated that it is under consideration, pending decisions at the European level.
Staikouras said that the available fiscal space in 2022 is fully used by the heating allowance, cost-of-living benefit and electricity subsidies. However, he added, “we have set aside ‘supplies’ (the budget execution course and cash reserves of around 38 billion euros) to deal with emergency situations as well”.
He concluded by noting that, based on the latest figures, Greek GDP is to increase this year by 5.3% (up from a budget forecast of 3.1%) versus a European average of 3.1%, while in 2023 economic growth will be 2.1%, against a 0.9% European average.