Government to increase €2.5bn social spending in budget bill
Economy department aims to persuade opposition and avoid extending spending plan for third year in a row
The Catalan government will increase social spending in their 2020 budget. The budget plan is proposing an extra €2.5 billion from the last spending plan passed in 2017.
According to Catalonia’s main two radio stations Catalunya Ràdio and RAC1, public investment will match figures before the start of the financial crisis in 2008.
Health, home affairs and education departments will be the priorities of this bill, that is, doctors, police officers and teachers, as well as a decrease in the university taxes.
The public spending planned by the economy department is 795 million euros higher than in the 2019 failed bill.
President Quim Torra’s government was unable to persuade any opposition party to pass the bill a few months ago, meaning the 2017 budget was extended for one more year.
The 2017 bill had already been extended to 2018 due to direct rule from Madrid. If the 2020 one also fails, the economy minister has already said no alternative will be left but for a new election.
Opposition parties react
So far, opposition across the political spectrum has criticized "inaction" by the executive during the political term and some say ministers should be more concerned about social affairs and not the national issue. The economy department will have an arduous task this autumn if it wants to convince at least one opposition party.
For one, CUP MP Maria Sirvent said that budget talks were "off to a bad start with press leaks and with no official documents on the bill," provided to her party to consider its contents.
Yet the economy minister will engage in talks “immediately,” as announced by the cabinet spokesperson on Tuesday.