2018 bud­get pre­sented

…but ap­proval in Par­lia­ment is far from guar­an­teed

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - SPANISH NEWS - By James Parkes jparkes@cb­news.es

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.

(photo EFE)

Min­is­ter Mon­toro pre­sent­ing the bud­get on Mon­day

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