The housing law, one of the main sources of tension between PSOE and United We Can, is unresolved when the negotiation of the budgets enters its final stretch. Limiting rental prices in stressed areas is one of the “stumbling blocks” admitted by the two factions of the coalition that are preventing a global agreement from being reached. However, both Pedro Sánchez and Yolanda Díaz assume that there will be an understanding that, according to the president, will allow the public accounts for 2022 to be approved “in a timely manner”, that is, to enter into force on January 1. However, in Moncloa they are already opening the door for the approval in the Council of Ministers to be delayed beyond October 5, which is the first date they handled, after having been unfeasible to give them the green light this Tuesday.
The tensions between PSOE and United We Can on taxes surface at the gates of the budget negotiation
“It is evident that we have not reached an agreement,” the second vice president admitted at the press conference. “The agreements are negotiated over low heat,” Díaz has warned. The main issue on which both parties acknowledge the disagreement is the regulation of rents, an issue that for Unidos Podemos would have to be “the heart” of the future housing law promoted by the coalition Executive. “We are not going to close a budget agreement without the agreements of last year being fulfilled,” say sources from United We Can in relation to the pact closed last year on this same issue.
The socialist part of the Government has tried to disassociate matters that are not merely budgetary from the negotiation, but the minority partner includes the limitation of rental prices as a red line after the housing law is more than a year behind on to the schedule initially established.
Despite not having reached an agreement on rent limits, since the formation of Ione Belarra they have recognized that in other matters the housing law “is very advanced” and that they have “everything closed” except that key issue. United We can understand, according to the programmatic agreement signed by Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias, that a maximum “ceiling” must be established. The Socialists make a different reading: they understand that measures such as expanding the housing stock, establishing tax credits for owners who lower prices or freezing contracts in stressed areas already establishes that “limit” of which the pact speaks. In addition, from the socialist part of the cabinet they maintain that they have already moved with respect to their initial positions (by accepting, for example, the freezing of contracts) while the minority partner, according to the sources consulted, has remained in their position initial.
But in the negotiation of the accounts there are two other transcendental issues for United We Can: a minimum rate of Corporation Tax of 15% and a family support package.
In recent days, United We can press within the Government to approve a tax for high incomes. “It cannot be that the Biden administration passes us by the left. There are great consensuses, like that of the G20, which is committed to this minimum tax for large companies,” different leaders of the coalition repeat in interviews and public events.
Faced with the insistence of the training led by its partners, the PSOE has made progress. The Prime Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, from the most conservative wing within the Socialist Party, took a position this Sunday in favor of this issue in an interview in The country. “Yes [sería razonable]. It is an issue that we are defending at the international level and that does not imply a significant change in our tax system, “stated Calviño in the aforementioned media. Until then, Calviño had argued that this minimum rate would have to be established at the global level – the OECD has already done so. He has recommended – and that the great tax reform will have to wait until 2022, when the report commissioned from the experts will be ready. Sources from the government’s socialist wing do recognize that some “adjustments” can be advanced. “We are on the right track. We are for fiscal harmonization “, summarized in Moncloa.
Beyond these public positions, United We can sources assure that the socialist interlocutors are being much more lukewarm in the meetings they hold: “At the negotiating table they say no.”
Given the lack of agreement on these issues and with the calendar running against it, United We can perceive the negotiations with “concern.” “The feeling is that the PSOE has accommodated itself,” they insist from the formation of Belarra, who also argue that the PSOE negotiators seek to “raise everything” so that Sánchez and Díaz are the ones who “close” the agreements. It was a common dynamic between the president and Iglesias, although in the last stage it stopped being that way.
The third leg that worries Belarra’s formation is a family support package, and among the measures they defend, they bet on a universal “parenting benefit” of 1,200 euros per year –100 euros per month– for all families who have children under the age of three. By promoting these issues, Unidos Podemos seeks to focus on issues that were overshadowed by the pandemic and concern “progressive people.”
The socialist part of the Government avoids giving details about what has already been closed in the budget negotiation and about what it intends to accept in the face of pressure from its minority partner, who usually publicizes the discrepancies as a method of pressure; but he insists that the project is advanced. “There will be agreements shortly”, sentenced this Monday the number two of the PSOE, Adriana Lastra, in a press conference in which he implied that he is aware of the fine print.