Greek parliament passes austerity budget

Greek parliament passes austerity budget

The Greek parliament has approved a 2016 budget that includes deep spending cuts and tax increases amid economic recession.

The budget passed by 153 votes to 145, with two MPs absent in the 300-member parliament. The vote was strictly along partisan lines.

The government forecasts zero economic growth this year and a contraction of 0.7% in 2016. Earlier, it had predicted declines of 2.3% and 1.3% respectively.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras told parliament growth would resume in the second half of 2016 and a strong tourist season could avoid a recession altogether.

Despite spending cuts of around two billion euros (£1.4bn) and a similar amount in tax rises, debt is forecast to grow to 327.6 billion euros (£236bn) or 187.8% of GDP from 180.2% in 2015.