Government presents its budget for next year to MPs and includes anti-crisis measures

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Finance Minister María Jesús Montero is delivering the budget proposal to the Speaker of Parliament this week. / EFE

Revenue and spending plans for 2023 were approved by ministers this week and include the highest sum ever for social spending

ON MADRID.

The national coalition government approved its budget plan for 2023 on Tuesday this week and on Thursday a copy of its proposals was presented to parliament for MPs to scrutinize the fine print before a vote on whether or not to approve it next month.

Of the 456 billion euros in spending planned for next year, the amount spent on social and social services, such as housing or education, will be the highest ever, at almost 267 billion euros ( not counting the 30 billion in EU funds), an increase of 23.6 billion this year.

The government has said that with this increase in social spending, it aims to ensure that pensioners do not lose their purchasing power, to improve conditions for the working class and to increase investment in health, education and the addiction.

Local train travel remains free

While giving the first details of the budget, Finance Minister María Jesús Montero said that the current free ride for regular users of local and medium-distance trains, which was to last until December this year, will be extended throughout 2023. .

In addition to helping users cope with the cost of living crisis, the free travel measure aims to encourage more people to use public transport.

The program, which began in September, has been well received by the public, with up to 40% more passengers traveling on local Cercanías rail services nationwide.

Other anti-crisis measures currently in place, such as lower fuel prices, were not included in the budget and the government will decide in November whether to extend them, Montero said.

Spanish state pensions are set to rise in line with inflation next year, and an increase of 8.5% has been estimated, although the annual inflation rate is not known with certainty at this time. current.

Defense and Health

Defense spending is also expected to increase by 6.5%, which Montero said would be used to boost military salaries. Overall defense will increase by 25.8%, but if other factors are taken into account. The amount invested in health should also increase by 6.7%, with a specific allocation for primary health care and an infrastructure improvement plan of 500 million euros.

In addition to additional credits for housing (including affordable rents), dependency, education and R+D+I, record resources have been allocated to the self-employed and municipalities.

Unemployment benefits

Other measures included in the budget are an increase in unemployment benefits, which will revert to 60% of basic salary from the seventh month. This will cost on average about 100 euros more and will benefit 300,000 people. The Partido Popular had reduced it to 50% when it was in government.

The family allowance of 100 euros per month, which was until now paid to working mothers, will be extended to all families with children up to the age of three, and single-parent families with two children will now count as “many family” for benefits.

Like pensions, the living wage must also be increased in line with inflation.

The government also announced on Monday that it had slightly raised its growth forecast for this year to 4.4%, but lowered the expected growth in 2023 to 2.1%.

Ministers now face the challenge of getting the budget approved by MPs within weeks. The vote will depend on some of the smaller Basque and Catalan nationalist parties.

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