Government and anti-austerity party seal deal on budget
Plan including €3bn spending increase on 2017 to be ratified in parliament
The Catalan government and anti-austerity Catalunya en Comú party sealed a deal for the 2020 budget on Monday after months-long talks.
The administration has not had a budget since 2017, the last time that the parliament managed to pass a spending plan – since then, the government has worked with an extended budget, based on the 2017 figures.
In December 2019, the same two groups published an agreement on income and taxes. The announcement on Monday morning confirmed the final part of the puzzle, a deal on spending and investment.
The deal, unveiled by Vice President Pere Aragonès, presidency minister Meritxell Budó, and head of the Catalunya en Comú parliamentary group Jéssica Albiach, includes plans for spending increases of 3.07 billion euros and 25% more investment in public spending, compared to the last budget passed in 2017.
The December agreement proposed income tax cuts for the lowest earners and rises for the highest earners, changes around inheritance tax, and the introduction of a new ‘green’ tax, aimed at power companies but exempting those operating with renewable energy sources.
With Catalunya en Comú’s support the pro-independence governing parties of JxCat and ERC have enough votes to ratify the budget in parliament.
Socialists criticise budget
The Socialist MP Eva Granados was critical of the agreement, saying that the "3 billion euro in the headlines is money that has already been spent" and added that "without a Spanish budget, any Catalan budget is a paper tiger".
Barcelona City Council budget also approved
Also on Monday, the Barcelona City Council budget for 2020 was agreed. In a reversal of roles compared to the government budget, the council’s pact saw the ruling parties Catalunya en Comú and the Socialists relying on support from the pro-independence parties ERC and JxCat.
The agreement will see investment in housing, building renovations and measures to tackle the climate emergency. The head of the JxCat group in the council said it was obvious that the two budgets – those of Barcelona and Catalunya – were being linked.