2018 budget presented
…but approval in Parliament is far from guaranteed
TAX OFFICE minister Cristóbal Montoro has this week presented the 2018 budget – but despite the support of the ruling PP and Ciudadanos, it still falls short of obtaining overall support in Parliament.
The budget is ‘aimed at consolidating growth and job creations’, stated the minister as he presented the €451 billion budget that estimates a record €300 billion income and €327 billion expenses – of which €144.8 billion will go to pensions.
The government estimated the 2017 national deficit of 4.3% of the GDP will drop to 2.2% this year.
Minimum state pensions (€606.70) will increase by 3% and the rest of state pensions up to €700 per month will rise by 1.5%, and 1% for those getting between €700 and €860. All the rest will continue to have 0.25% increases.
The overall social services expenses rise by €6,000 million and represent 55% of the total figure. The budget allocated to active employment policies increases by 3.9%.
Civil servants salaries will rise by 1.75%, while government ministers and MPs will see their wages rise by 1.5%.
Investment in public works increases by 12%, the defence budget by 10.7%, and the Royal House allowance rises by 0.9%.
Cinema tickets will finally see IVA (VAT) drop from 21% to 10%.
Talks for support
With the support of the ruling PP and the agreement reached on the figures with Ciudadanos, the budget still requires the support of another ** MPs in order to be approved in Parliament.
Last year, the PNV Basque Nationalists supported the budget as it included extra funds for the region, but this year they have refused to do so ‘until the government lifts the application of Article 155 of the Spanish consititution in Cataluña’ – which effectively limits its regional autonomy.
With no support expected from far-left wing party Podemos or PSOE, Mariano Rajoy has a very complicated agenda ahead.
Suprisingly, the answer could come from Cataluña. If a new president is elected (meaning one that is not pending trial over the separatist crisis) and the resulting regional cabinet is sworn in – including loyalty to the Constitution – then Article 155 could be revoked and the PNV may enter negotiations.
Minister Montoro presenting the budget on Monday