Spain to inject EUR 10 billion in economy
The new government has approved 11 measures to buttress up flagging economy.18 April 2008
MADRID - Spain's new government Friday approved 11 measures which will inject EUR 10 billion to buttress up the country's flagging economy this year.
Out of the total budget, EUR 6 billion will be reserved for a EUR 400 refund to every income tax payer in fulfilment of a promise made by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialists during the recent electoral campaign.
The programme focuses on helping individuals, families and companies hit by the economic slowdown on the one hand, and on reviving the economy on the other hand.
Measures will include tax cuts, relief measures for families facing mortgage payments, increased credit possibilities for small and medium-sized enterprises, a plan to train the unemployed and to reinsert them into the labour market, and tax benefits for foreign investors.
The programme also focuses on increasing public works and the construction of subsidized housing, and encourages the renovation of buildings, in order to absorb people losing jobs in the rapidly shrinking construction sector, which has been responsible for nearly 20 percent of Spain's gross domestic product (GDP).
Spain's economic growth is expected to plunge from 3.8 percent in 2007 to possibly less than 2 percent, after more than a decade of rapid growth.
The government attributes the difficulties mainly to the international financial crisis, in addition to the meltdown of the long overheated construction industry.
The inflation running at about 4.5 percent is the highest in 13 years.
Zapatero's new government began work this week after the Socialists took their second consecutive election victory on 9 March.
[dpa / Expatica]