Covid-19: Spain approves record budget for 2022

This is the second year in a row that the left-wing minority government has succeeded in passing a draft budget

The Spanish Parliament on Tuesday endowed the country with a budget for 2022, marked by a record level of spending, numerous social measures and more than 10% financed by European funds, in the hope of starting to turn the page of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the first time since 2014 that Parliament has succeeded in voting a budget two years in a row.

The importance of the event is as political as it is economic, as the approval of a budget for 2022 guarantees the government of socialist Pedro Sánchez to remain in place until the end of the legislature, in 2023, since it can, if necessary, renew this budget next year for an additional year. The government press release states that between the Lower House and the Senate, 15 parties voted for this budget.

An amendment added

The deputies, who approved this finance bill on November 25, simply voted on Tuesday for a small amendment in the amount of 1.6 million euros which had been added last week in the Senate, necessitating a new vote in the Congress of Deputies. The text was approved by a large majority of 281 votes out of 344, against 62 votes and one abstention, announced Alfredo Rodríguez, the vice-president of the Congress, who replaced the president Meritxell Batet, suffering from the Covid.

This budget provides for an unprecedented level of expenditure with 240 billion euros, financed to the tune of 26.3 billion by the mega European recovery plan, of which Madrid is expected to be one of the main beneficiaries with 140 billion over six years . Spain received a first payment of 10 billion this year.

Increase in pensions

It includes several emblematic measures, such as the revaluation of pensions and salaries of civil servants, which will increase by 2% on January 1, and materializes the promises of the executive to fight against the precariousness of young people. These measures include a rent subsidy of 250 euros per month for the benefit of people aged 18 to 35 with low incomes and a culture voucher of 400 euros for young people aged 18.

To obtain the essential support of the small independence parties, the government had to accept several counterparts, including a measure obliging audiovisual platforms to ensure at least 6% of their production in regional languages ​​(Basque, Catalan or Galician) or even the commitment to remove tolls on certain highways.

At the request of his partner in government, the radical left-wing Podemos party, the Socialists have also agreed to introduce rent controls for large landlords in areas under stress.

The executive also plans to reduce the public deficit to 5% of GDP next year, against 8.4% in 2021. But this very ambitious goal is based on a growth forecast of 7% in 2022 that many economists consider unrealistic .

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