National survey shows only 2 percent of Poles have adequate income

An extensive government probe into living standards in Poland has established that only 2 percent of Poles have incomes that cover their needs and that 31 percent exist by buying only the cheapest available food and clothes.

Some 56,000 families in town and country were polled in the first comprehensive large-scale inquiry into the everyday life of Poland's 36 million people.

It found that some 2.7 million Poles are living on incomes that are inadequate to provide elementary basic needs.

Nonetheless, 39 percent of the peasant farmers questioned said their earnings were adequate, and 40 percent of the families polled still managed to save.

Meanwhile, a demand by Warsaw bakers April 12 that the government sanction bread price hikes or restore the industry's former subsidies to save them from bankruptcy, focused on the difficulty of carrying through the economic reform's premise of enterprise efficiency and profitability.

Twelve firms have already gone broke since subsidies were removed. Tuesday the Polish capital's biggest food enterprise was reported as saying it would be bankrupt, too, unless it could cover increased grain costs by raising the price of a standard kilogram loaf above its present 16 zlotys (about 18 cents).

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