Trade Union: Third of Bulgarians Live Below Poverty Line
According to Plamen Dimitrov, president of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (KNSB), a third of the Bulgarian population lives below the poverty line.
Dimitrov said this in an interview for private bTV station on Tuesday, basing his words on the latest figures presented by KNSB on Monday.
The data of the trade union showed that 30 % of all households in the country or more than 2 200 000 people have an income below the poverty line.
At the end of 2015, a typical four-member household (2 adults and 2 children) needed a monthly income of around BGN 2242 in order to cover its expenses on food, education, healthcare and housing.
Thus a member of such a household needed a monthly income of BGN 560.55 to cover one's basic expenses.
In the last quarter of last year, the poverty line reached BGN 295.55.
According to estimates, 48 % of the Bulgarian population or 3.5 million people have a total income of between BGN 296 and BGN 561.
KNSB estimated that Bulgaria needs an economic growth of 4-5 % in order to restore the level of employment it had before the crisis.
The trade union will insist for 10-15 % increase of revenues in the private sector this year, which is expected to result in rise of the average wage.
In Dimitrov's opinion, poverty is the greatest problem in Bulgaria which is mutually related to the demographic crisis.
He reminded that estimates of Eurostat showed that 40 % of Bulgarians are threatened from social exclusion.
In his words, the key to dealing with poverty lies in the income tax, with flat tax leading to social inequalities.
Another major problem is that there are 460 000 working poor, with 260 000 of them earning the minimum wage.
Dimitrov forecasted that after the liberalisation of the energy market, the price of electricity will increase between 10 % and 20 % as had happened in all places where liberalisation had taken place.
After that the price could decrease but only if the market starts functioning and there is real competition.
He reminded that the falling prices of oil on world markets does not lead to cheaper prices of petrol in Bulgaria, for which he blamed the Commission for Protection of Competition (KZK).
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