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Socialists ‘would harm economy’

Published on 09/02/2004

9 February 2004

MADRID – Nearly half Spanish business leaders think a change in government would harm the economy, a poll found Monday.

The main findings from a poll by Demoscopia for the financial newspaper Cinco Días questioned 400 businessmen.

The poll found 49 percent feel a change in Government after the general election on 14 March will have a negative influence on the economy.

The socialist opposition PSOE is currently trailing in national polls behind the ruling conservative PP party by 10 percent.

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter – or 24 percent – feel that taxes should be lowered in order to assure economic growth.

But nearly a fifth, or 19.8 percent feel that a new government will not affect the economy, while 18 percent feel a change will be beneficial.

The economic reforms most business people seek are tax reductions, increased business grants and a liberalisation of the labour market.

At least 15.8 percent feel increased research and development investment is essential, while 9.5 percent are in favour of greater contractual stability and 8.5 percent want more control over labour costs.

The poll found 46 percent would like to see a reduction in company tax, while 37 percent are in favour of reduced social fees and 10.8 percent want tax reductions on capital gains.

Those polled are split as to whether dividing up the responsibilities of the Inland Revenue service will result in greater or less efficiency.

And 66 percent reject the Plan Ibarretxe – the controversial plan by Basque regional leader Juan Jose Ibarretxe for greater autonomy in the Basque Country. They believe it is far too risky for investment in the region.

On the whole, those polled are optimistic about their profits, investments and staff numbers, although the results differ according to company size and sector.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news