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Greek government promises new holiday payments for the poor

The Greek government will again distribute one-off Christmas payments to low-earners, drawing from a budgetary surplus built on severe spending cuts and high taxes, the country's prime minister said.

Alexis Tsipras said 1.4 billion euro (£1.2 billion) would be given to at least 3.4 million Greeks this winter, compared with the 617 million euros (£549 million) issued to pensioners last year.

In a televised address late Monday, Mr Tsipras said the bonuses would range from 240 (£214) to 900 euros (£800) per beneficiary and come from an expected 1.75% primary budget surplus.

The figure excludes debt servicing costs.

Greece's finances have been under scrutiny from bailout creditors since 2010. It was unclear whether creditors have approved the new round of Christmas payments.

Mr Tsipras' government is trailing the main opposition conservatives in opinion polls.

AP

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