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"During his six years working for St Helens Council Education Department, Paul was, among other things, our in-house "languages expert", doing the translating, interpreting and liaison with our twin towns in Chalon-Sur-Saône, France, Stuttgart, Germany and El Prat de Llobregat, Spain. His participation has enabled us to maintain strong links with all three towns, particularly in the field of education, where he set up and managed a very successful work experience programme for sixth formers"
Brian Mainwaring, Director of Education, St Helens Council, August 1995

New government in Spain - Rajoy’s plans PDF
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:00
 

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister-elect, has announced his plans to rescue Spain from the doldrums, ahead of his investiture today. In his speech to parliament on Monday the leader of the centre-right Partido Popular promised 12 major legal reforms in the first three months of 2012.

The headline reforms will be public spending cuts of at least €16.5bn (£13.8bn), a civil service hiring freeze and restructuring of the financial sector, including  forcing the country's banks to own up to the full scale of losses on bad property loans.

Rajoy said that Spain had no option but to embrace austerity and meet deficit targets set by the EU. "The panorama could not be more sombre," he said. "We cannot be vague when setting out priorities." Yet he was vague, by not specifying where the spending cuts would come from.

He proposed a drastic reduction in the number of state companies, quangos and other entities.

The new government would oblige banks to reveal the full extent of toxic real estate assets, valuing land and properties they have received from bankrupt builders at realistic prices. Banks would be encouraged to sell off their growing property portfolios.

A restructuring of the finance sector would probably involve a further round of consolidation. Restructuring would be completed by the summer.

Unions and employers were told to agree on radical labour reform, the aim being to make collective bargaining more flexible and reduce the cost of hiring and firing.

He announced small tax changes designed to favour small businesses and create employment.

A move to imitate the British system of having public holidays on Mondays aims to improve productivity.

The only other winners from Rajoy's speech were the elderly, whose pensions would rise with inflation next year. "That is the only bit of spending that will be increased," he said.

He promised to concentrate on job creation and to govern through dialogue and transparency. He admitted that there are currently 5.4 million unemployed and that youth unemployment is running at 46%.

 

To sum up the key measures are:

  • A freeze on public sector recruitment
  • A new law on transparency, good government and access to public information
  • Reform of the law on grants and subventions
  • A reduction in regulatory bodies
  • Fiscal reforms including: companies will no longer be required to pay IVA/VAT on their invoices until these have been paid by public administrations; a tax break of 3.000 euros for the first employee contracted; and reform to the tax on societies and clubs.
  • Most public holidays will be moved to Mondays to get rid of “puentes” and increase productivity
  • Equal opportunity in employment
  • Plans to increase the number of jobs for young people
  • Education reform , including: three years of bachillerato; the re-introduction of the National Strategy for Education Quality, which was abandoned by the socialist government in 2004; and the promotion of bilingualism and trilingualism in schools.
  • Use of renewable energy technology to bring down energy prices
  • Health service reforms
  • A clamp-down on early retirement
  • Reforms to the Constitution Tribunal, the Public Defender, the Exchequer and Radio and TV Advisory Body within three months
  • Retirement at 67

 

Best of luck, Mariano!

© Paul Whitelock

 

For further reading on this topic, here are a selection of articles:

El País (Spanish)

The Guardian

The Olive Press

Typically Spanish website

Tags: Mariano Rajoy, Spanish prime minister-elect, New government in Spain, reform, spending cuts, fiscal reform, unemployment, IVA, paul whitelock, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.a1-solutions-spain.com

 

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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