Rajoy does U-Turn on unemployment aid
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has announced that his government is going to extend the 400-euro monthly subsidy that is currently being paid out to 200,000 of Spain’s more than five million unemployed workers, and was due to have ended this week.
Following an outcry from across the nation, including strong words from our own Canarian Government President Paulino Rivero, Rajoy has announced the U-Turn that will continue relief payments to the over 32,000 out-of-work people here in the Canaries.
Rajoy said that he considered the Popular Party (PP) administration’s decision to keep the checks coming to those who fall under the program “a fair move,” and stressed that this was the second time that public aid has been broadened with the aim of “helping those who do not have jobs find work.”
Nevertheless, the PM said that Plan Prepara is not meeting its goals and pledged to work on ways “to try to improve it.”
“The government has taken many drastic measures, many people’s taxes have been raised, and there have been adjustments in many sectors, so we believe that keeping this small allowance makes sense at a very difficult moment such as this one,” he said.
It was another turn-around for Rajoy, who last month said that Plan Prepara would be eliminated as part of a set of budget-cutting measures. Participants in Plan Prepara are among the neediest in terms of state support, given that to qualify for the scheme they must have already exhausted their regular unemployment benefit, and have annual income of less than 75 percent of the minimum wage (7,696 euros). In exchange, recipients join a program aimed at getting them into the job market.
It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how long the unemployed will be able to draw from the fund, but reports suggested that the scheme would run for at least six more months. The details of the measure will be approved by the Cabinet next week retroactively from the day that the money budgeted for the plan would have run out.
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