Budget gets green light

24th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

24 September 2004 MADRID - Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Friday approved the government budget for 2005, the first since the Socialists returned to power last spring and one which reflects many of the ruling party's priorities. According to Economy Minister Pedro Solbes, the budget was based on a predicted 3 percent rise in Spain's GDP and a 2 percent cut in the country's 11 percent unemployment rate, the highest in the European Union. Among the measures contained in th

24 September 2004
 
MADRID - Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Friday approved the government budget for 2005, the first since the Socialists returned to power last spring and one which reflects many of the ruling party's priorities.
 
According to Economy Minister Pedro Solbes, the budget was based on a predicted 3 percent rise in Spain's GDP and a 2 percent cut in the country's 11 percent unemployment rate, the highest in the European Union.
 
Among the measures contained in the budget is that the government will, for the first time since 2000, deduct inflation from each citizen's income tax. Economists predict that inflation will be around 2 percent next year.
 
Solbes said the budget was designed to contribute to changing the country's economic model following eight years of conservative rule by the Popular Party, ensure stability, provide the required social necessities for Spaniards and reinforce transparency.
 
Just over 50 percent of the budget will go towards social spending such as pensions and unemployment payments. Government spending on housing will rise by 32.5 percent and funding research and development will rise by 25.4 percent, Solbes told journalists at a press conference after the cabinet meeting.
 
Also receiving more government funding this year will be infrastructure and education.
 
At the press conference, Solbes defended a proposal for the government to raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco and said it made sense for the extra revenue to be used to help Spain's autonomous regions finance their health programmes.
 
Why can't this money go to the regions where many of their health systems are in the red?" Solbes asked. He noted that the legislature had the power to raise the taxes on drink and tobacco and that it was preferable to having such an increase be imposed as part of the budget.

[Copyright Expatica with EFE]

Subject: Spanish news
  

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