Spain unveils emergency actions to curb soaring living costs
The Spanish government has approved a package of emergency economic measures worth more than 9 billion euros (USD 9.5 billion) to try to temper the economic fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Saturday.
"This war, and its economic and social consequences, have produced an extraordinary uncertainty when it comes to the European and international economy and, of course, the Spanish one," Sánchez told reporters.
"Consequently, we are cushioning this effect with the instruments that we have and sharing in a fair, equitable way the economic and social costs of the war," he added.
The measures include a cut in the tax on electricity, from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, a reduction in the cost of monthly transit passes and a one-time payment of 200 euros (USD 211) for people who earn less than 14,000 euros (USD 14,756) a year and are not already receiving benefits.
A series of previously announced measures, such as a 20-cent reduction on gasoline prices at the pump and a 15% increase for people on benefits, will be extended.
The government is also in the process of designing a tax aimed at the "extraordinary profits" earned by energy companies since Russia's war in Ukraine sent prices soaring, said Sánchez, whose Socialists lead a coalition government.
"It's an initiative that is in tune with public opinion in our country," the prime minister said.
Several analysts linked the Socialist loss in a region that was once a party stronghold to growing concerns over rising inflation and the cost of living.
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