The worst September in 15 years, 16,282 more people registered as unemployed in Catalonia
September has been a bad month for employment over the last number of years, but this past September is the worst in the last 11 years. The Spanish Government has blamed the budget cuts undergone by the Autonomous Communities for the unemployment increase. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government considers Madrid’s statements as “offensive” and “pitiful”, and he stressed that the Spanish Government had asked them to double their public spending cuts. He also added that the Spanish Government has not paid the money that it owes.
Barcelona / Madrid (ACN).- September was a bad month for employment. On September 30th, there were 16,282 more people registered as unemployed in Catalonia compared to the end of August. It means a 2.78% increase, and puts the total number of unemployed people in Catalonia at 600,930, according to data from the Spanish Ministry of Employment, released on Tuesday. For Spain as a whole, unemployment increased by 2.32%, with 95,817 more people registered. In total, there were 4,226,744 unemployed people. The Spanish Deputy Minister for Employment, María Luz Rodríguez, accused the Autonomous Communities of being behind the unemployment increase. “No one doubts that austerity policies are still needed, but the hard adjustment path is clearly damaging employment”, said Rodríguez referring to the Autonomous Communities. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, replied to the Spanish Government’s accusations. He said they were “offensive” and “pitiful”. “The one who was demanding we should double the budget cuts in comparison to what we are already doing is now telling us unemployment is a consequence of the budget cuts. And furthermore, they are not paying us the money they owe us and they behave as true doubtful debtors. All this is pitiful”, stated Homs.
Unemployment figures for September represented the worst increase in relative terms since 2008. In Catalonia, the number of people on the Catalan Public Employment Service register increased by 2.78%, which represented an addition of 16,282 people and a total figure of 600,930 unemployed people. September has been a bad month during the economic crisis, but this year is the worst in the last 11 years, since the historic data began.
The Spanish Government accuses the Autonomous Communities for the unemployment increase
The bad unemployment figures require an explanation, especially considering the Spanish general election will take place in less than two months. The Spanish Deputy Minister for Employment, María Luz Rodríguez, accused the Autonomous Communities of reducing public spending too heavily and therefore of creating unemployment by laying off public employees and reducing public sector activity. “The adjustment carried out within public administrations not only is being noticed in terms of people's standard of living, but also in terms of employment reduction provoked by the quick adjustments that are taking place in some Autonomous Communities and municipalities”, stated Rodríguez. “No one doubts that austerity policies are still needed, but the hard adjustment path is clearly damaging employment”, she added.
The Catalan Government considers the Spanish Government’s accusations as “offensive” and “pitiful”
The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, reacted to the Spanish Government’s accusations with “surprise” and said they were “puzzled”. Homs considered the accusations as “pitiful”, as it is the Spanish Government who is pushing the Autonomous Communities to undergo budget cuts and meet the deficit objectives. “The one who was demanding we should double the budget cuts in comparison to what we are already doing is now telling us unemployment is a consequence of the budget cuts. And furthermore, they are not paying us the money they owe us and they behave as true doubtful debtors. All this is pitiful”, stated Homs.
Homs was referring to the fact that the Spanish Government is not paying some funds it legally has to pay to the Catalan Government this year, according to the fiscal model in place. According to the Spokesperson, the Spanish Government “is acting as a true doubtful debtor” with Catalonia. “If something is contributing to unemployment it is the existence of doubtful debtors, and the Spanish Government is not paying what it owes to Catalonia”, he added. Homs demanded the Spanish Government to “not act in such an irresponsible way”, and offered “more solidarity with those who are doing their homework”, referring to the efforts to reduce public spending the Catalan Government is undergoing in order to balance public finances.
The Catalan Government is globally reducing public spending this year by 10%, in order to reduce public deficit and meet its objective of finishing 2011 with a public deficit of 2.66% of the Catalan GDP. If the Spanish Government pays the money it owes, the Catalan Government announced that the deficit would be smaller.