THE government has announced plans for the 2016 general budget which sees likely cuts in unemployment benefit and the minimum increase of 0.25 per cent for pensioners. Government and public employees will receive a one per cent pay rise, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Compared to 2015, next year’s entire allocated spending for unemployment benefit will be 21.7 per cent less. However, the government has earmarked 10 per cent more to the employment budget for activities such as training courses and assistance with job hunting, an amount which has increased by a total of 28 per cent over the last two budgets.
The 2016 budget, which has a cap of €123.4 billion, 4.4 per cent less than 2015’s, also sets aside 53.5 per cent for social spending. On the other hand, pensions will rise by just 0.25 per cent in next year’s budget, the minimum amount that can be applied according to a government index tied to social security revenue and inflation.
Hopes are that the national debt will fall to 98.2 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product), which would make it the first decrease since the beginning of the crisis in 2008.