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AltAusterity Digest #22 November 9-15, 2017

This week in Austerity News:

Nov 17, 2017

Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro has announced that his government will order a ““refinancing and restructuring” of foreign debt worth about $105 billion. However, talks over this restructuring could be minimal, as sanctions have been placed to prevent any new debt being bought by American entities. While Venezuela has yet to miss a debt servicing payment, it’s bonds are trading between 20-30 cents on the dollar.

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Monday that the government will be distributing €1.4 billion ($1.63 billion) to pensioners and others hit hard by government austerity. Since Greece has run a surplus in 2017 (minus debt services costs of 1.75% of GDP), the move has been approved in principle by international lenders. The distributions will be divided between 3.4 million eligible Greeks as a one-off tax-free benefit (€720 million), another €315 to pensioners, and €360 to Greece’s Public Power Corporation to prevent electricity tariff increases.

An NHS Scotland report has found that Scots in poor areas are three times more likely to commit suicide. Austerity cuts have been blamed for the rising levels of poverty. Labour MP Monica Lennon said, “The link between suicide and deprivation is undeniable and underlines the human cost of austerity.” Mental health minister Maureen Watt has responded by saying the Scottish Government is planning to pursue a suicide prevention strategy next year.

Former Conservative MP Nick Boles has called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to end the “age of austerity” in this month’s Budget. Boles served in the Cameron government from 2012 to 2016. According to Bole, wages have stagnated in both the public and private sectors because productivity has stagnated, which in turn comes from a lack of investment. Labour has said that his comments show the Conservatives were “losing the economic argument”.

That's it for this week's Digest! Check back next Friday morning for another edition, or subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly roundup. We'll also Tweet each time we add new content, so you can keep up with our work @AltAusterity and join the #altausterity conversation!