Podemos has entered this Monday fully into the negotiation with the PSOE for the approval of the next General State Budgets, those of 2023, which will be the last of the progressive government before the general ones scheduled for the end of next year. The Minister of Social Rights and leader of the party, Ione Belarra, considers that these accounts “have to be the milestone that allows the Government to redirect the course and recover the rhythm” of the leftist agenda. “They must be budgets that return a clear political horizon to the Government; they have to be the cotton test ”, she assured this Monday in her speech before the Podemos Coordination Council.
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In her opinion, “there are structural transformations that people have been waiting for a long time and that they cannot wait any longer”, such as advancing in a “feminist care and advances system”, “shielding purchasing power and curbing inflation”, betting on “ what is public” and launch an ambitious “tax reform” that guarantees the progressivity of taxes.
Belarra has outlined the specific measures that Podemos will demand from the rest of the Government during the negotiation. Among them, he mentioned “immediately approving a family law that extends maternity and paternity leave to six months, which includes a child-rearing income of 100 euros per month for each child in each family, as well as paid leave for the worker or the worker seven days a year for care”.
“We must also fulfill our commitment to increase dependency care by 600 million euros and expand the Co-Responsible Plan with an additional 200 million euros for next year. In this way we will be able to reach 1.2 million families in Spain, doubling the number currently reached”, he added, before the Podemos staff. For the sake of protecting women, Belarra has also called for “an increase in investment in policies to combat sexist violence for the next year of more than 70 million euros.”
Lower the price of subscriptions to 10 euros
With the idea of ”stopping inflation and protecting the purchasing power of families” Podemos proposes “establishing a maximum price for fuels that puts a limit on price escalation.” “This maximum price would be covered thanks to the extraordinary tax on the benefits of energy companies,” Belarra pointed out. After managing to agree with the PSOE to reduce state transport passes by 50%, the Minister of Social Rights considers “it is necessary to continue lowering the price of the transport pass until it costs 10 euros in all the autonomous communities.”
Belarra also urges the socialist part of the Government to “comply once and for all” with the coalition agreement “definitively prohibiting supply cuts to vulnerable people and making the debts accumulated by people and families in vulnerable situations be assumed by electricity market companies.
To “shield purchasing power” against the inflationary scenario, Podemos sees “urgently to continue raising the minimum interprofessional wage according to the recommendations of the Technical Commission that has advised the Ministry of Labor, to increase the IPREM by 15%, which is the index that it marks the amount of many social benefits in Spain as well as updating the pensions and salaries of public employees according to inflation”.
The next Budgets must also include “a fund of 10,000 million euros to invest in public health and public education.” As the powers are transferred, the leader of Podemos proposes that the autonomous communities voluntarily request financing and contribute one euro from their budgets for every two euros they receive from this fund. “In the health field, a certain percentage should be allocated at least to primary care and the public mental health system and, in the educational field, a certain percentage should be allocated to the creation of new children’s education places of 0 to 3 years”, added Belarra.
Corporate profit tax
What Podemos is proposing is that all these measures “be paid for with an ambitious tax reform that cannot wait any longer.” “It does not seem decent to us that after two very serious economic crises, the large companies and fortunes of our country have not contributed a single extra euro to deal with the difficult situation,” he denounced. For this reason, he proposes “to balance the fiscal balance by making those who have the most pay what corresponds to them.” For this, Belarra considers that “the extraordinary tax on energy companies must be applied immediately and large companies must pay at least the same percentage of taxes as small ones” for which he proposes “that the minimum tax of 15% be established over all its benefits.
At the same time, Podemos sees it as “urgent” to implement “a tax on large state fortunes that prevents the appearance of internal tax havens such as Madrid, which make unfair competition with other territories.”
In the opinion of the minority partner of the Government, “the 2020 budgets were those of the Social Shield against the pandemic; and the 2021 budgets were those of the recovery.” In both, Belarra has said, his political space “was able to push public accounts that represented a turning point in Spain, to the extent that they left behind the harmful stage of austerity and represented a determined commitment to expansionary policies and of strong public investment as a way to deal with the crisis”.
“That spirit that we managed to imprint on the 2020 and 2021 budgets worked; We proved that we were right: compared to the almost 12 years that our country took to recover the levels of affiliation to social security that it had before the financial crisis of 2008, with United We Can in the Government in less than a year and a half we were already in levels prior to the pandemic and the Spanish economy is growing at the fastest rate in decades, to give just two figures”, he celebrated.
Warnings to the PSOE
But the leader of Podemos considers that the current one is “a very different context, fundamentally marked by the political, economic and social consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the response that has been given from Europe in terms of military escalation.” The party is “greatly concerned” about inflation “because it is a severe blow to the social majority” and because, in Belarra’s opinion, “it can ruin the coalition government’s action.” That is why Podemos will work so that the Budgets “include truly forceful, effective and courageous measures to protect people’s purchasing power and living conditions”.
He has also thrown several darts at the PSOE considering that “the latest events and statements”, in clear allusion to the increase in military spending or the Melilla massacre, “have led to a moment in the legislature in which political objectives are not perceived clear in the action of the coalition government”. “Spain is not at war, it is suffering the economic and social consequences of a war in Europe. And since we are not at war, what people need is not to buy bombs. Spain needs budgets that guide social protection”, he added. In his opinion, “it is worrying that more and more people have the feeling that it is Podemos alone that raises the flags that should be the hallmark of a progressive government.”