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Sunday 4 December 2016

Greek parliament passes 2016 austerity budget

Published 06/12/2015 | 06:41

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras in thoughtful mood as parliament passes the government's 2016 budget (AP)
Prime minister Alexis Tsipras in thoughtful mood as parliament passes the government's 2016 budget (AP)

Greece's parliament has approved a 2016 budget that includes deep spending cuts and tax increases amid economic recession.

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The budget passed by 153 votes to 145, with two MPs absent in the 300-member parliament. The vote was strictly along partisan lines.

The government forecasts zero economic growth this year and a contraction of 0.7% in 2016. Earlier, it had predicted declines of 2.3% and 1.3% respectively.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament growth would resume in the second half of 2016 and a strong tourist season could avoid a recession altogether.

Despite spending cuts of around two billion euros (£1.4bn) and a similar amount in tax rises, debt is forecast to grow to 327.6 billion euros (£236bn) or 187.8% of GDP from 180.2% in 2015.

Press Association

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