Greek parliament approves tweaks to latest austerity package

ATHENS, Greece – Greece’s parliament has approved a new batch of tweaks to its creditor-mandated austerity program, which it hopes will unlock a promised, vital loan installment.

The amendments, which include adjustments to some civil service salaries and non-performing loans, were approved by lawmakers from the left-led governing coalition in a vote Thursday.

Last month, Greece approved new sweeping tax hikes and other reforms aimed to reduce government spending.

Starting this week, the main sales tax rate increased from 23 to 24 per cent. Taxes were also raised on services used heavily by Greeks forced to cut back on leisure activities because of the financial crisis.

Greece’s European creditors have agreed to unfreeze 10.3 billion euros ($11.5 billion) in bailout funds, starting later this month, but demanded additions to the measures passed in May.