As the Greek government flails, becoming desperate to satisfy its European masters in order to receive the next tranche of loans that will prevent default, businesses are failing. As the government hastily and pathetically dreams up yet more austerity measures to impose on the already overburdened populace, it is inevitable that small businesses will be forced to close down. What is surprising are the total figures revealed by the Greek retail federation, ESEE.
According to figures cited by Ekathimerini
, 68,000 small businesses have already been forced to shut up shop during 2011, with another 53,000 expected to close down before the year end. Considering the total population of Greece is less than 11 million, these closures will have a devastating effect on Greek families. Many small businesses are family owned and generational. Figures cited in this Reuters video show 80 percent of small businesses are facing economic difficulties. It describes lack of consumer confidence which is a generous term for what is in fact a lack of spending power, as the populace struggles to pay ever increasing bills and rising taxes.
There are general worries regarding the new property tax
which the Greek government announced just two weeks ago that is due to be collected via electricity bills. The government has instructed that the electricity company DEI shut off the electricity supply of anyone who fails to pay the additional tax.
Vassilis Korkidis, Chairman of ESEE told Ekathimerini
“The latest measures have created an atmosphere of fear, that tomorrow people will not have enough money to eat. They should impose taxes that businesses will be able to cope with in the current climate.”
points out that the Greek people are
“Increasingly asking what the point is of this pain”
with one Greek saying Greece is being turned into a “poverty house.” It becomes inevitable that as people are driven into practicing increasingly frugal measures, there will be little money left to sustain more than the essentials and more small businesses will be forced to lower their shutters.