Greece approves tough £30bn austerity bill as riots continue

THE GREEK Parliament has passed a bill containing proposed austerity measures that will see the country lay down heavy taxes and slash pensions in a bid to cut the country’s spiralling debt pile.

A majority of 151 lawmakers, out of 300, voted in favour of the bill, despite an ongoing raft of violent protests by workers in Athens and on the same day markets spiralled as worries that the situation in Greece would drag the world’s economy back into recession.

Protestors have claimed that the £30bn austerity package is too severe and favours the rich.

However, both Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou argued that the austerity package was the only hope for the country to avoid bankruptcy.

The Greek government had to vote the package through so that it could initiate the next stage of a £93bn joint rescue package from the International Monetary Fund and the Eurozone. Under the new bill, civil servant salaries will be reduced by 25 per cent, while pensions will be cut and the age of retirement increased.