Spanish mayors and members of parliament cut own salaries

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Spanish mayors and members of parliament said Tuesday they will slash their salaries as part of government efforts to rein in a ballooning public deficit which has rattled global financial markets.

The leaders of all political parties with representation in parliament said their lawmakers had agreed to a 10 percent cut in their salares as of June.

At the same time mayors and town councillors agreed to salary cuts of up to 15 percent.

The cuts, which were unanimously approved by the board of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), will be proportionate to their earnings, with mayors making the most money getting the biggest cut.

The president of the federation, Pedro Castro, said the "absolute priority is to lift the country out of the (financial) crisis and it is what citizens expect of us."

The staff cuts for mayors and town councillors will mirror those unveiled last week by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for his cabinet and all civil servants.

Mayors and town councilors making as much as Zapatero and his cabinet ministers will get the biggest cut of 15 percent.

Those earning as much as junior cabinet ministers will see their salaries cut by 10 percent while those earning the least will get a salary cut of 0.25 percent.

The salary cuts will come into force in June and will last until the end of 2011, said Castro, who is also the socialist mayor of the central city of Getafe.

Zapatero's cabinet on Thursday approved a two-year 15-billion-euro (19-billion-dollar) austerity plan that includes a freeze on state pensions and an average cut this year civil servants' salaries of five percent.

The civil servant salary cuts will save the government 2.3 billion euros in 2010 and 2.2 billion euros in 2011, Finance Minister Elena Salgado said at the time.

The cuts are on top of a 50-billion-euro package announced in January designed to slash the public deficit to the eurozone limit of three percent of gross domestic product by 2013 from 11.2 percent last year.

FEMP did not say how much the salary cut for mayors would save.

© 2010 AFP

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