One in 10 challenged by low income, says survey

Ten per cent of Austrians struggle to make ends meet, according to a new survey.Pollsters IFES and SORA – who carried out the study for the Upper Austrian Labour Chamber (AKOÖ) – announced today (Fri) that one in 10 Austrians (350,000) said they were unable to get along on what they earned. The agencies stressed only 256,000 Austrians – 38 per cent less than today – said the same 10 years ago.The 2010 research also shows that women especially struggle with 12 per cent admitting to finding it impossible to make ends meet. Forty-two per cent told pollsters they “barely manage” to get along.IFES and SORA said the study confirmed economists’ estimations that a high number of blue-collar workers and migrants have difficulties affording day to day life as well.Fifty-eight per cent of Austrians said they “agreed” with the amount of their income, down by 12 per cent compared to research carried out in 2000.Some analysts have warned the number of people struggling to get along was set to soar from next year as the government planned to cut all ministries’ budgets, including that of the social issues department which subsidises the poor.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Chancellor Werner Faymann and Finance Minister Josef Pröll of the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) said earlier this year they wanted to spend 1.7 billion Euros less in 2011 and save similar amounts next year to reduce the budget deficit and the state debt by 2014.Pröll – who called for a “debate without any taboos” on where to make cuts and work more efficiently – also announced the SPÖ-ÖVP’s coalition’s plan was to rake in an extra 1.7 billion Euros in higher or new taxes next year.The finance minister added he wanted Austria’s towns and communities to save 800 million Euros next year to help restore the state budget.The country’s budget deficit reached 3.5 per cent last year after just 0.6 per cent in 2007 and 0.4 per cent in 2008.The Austrian state debt ranges around 200 billion Euros, equalling 70.2 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The government must push it beneath 60 per cent by 2013 to match the Eurozone’s Maastricht criteria.