Madrid mayor balks at social spending rollback

Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena on Tuesday backed away from spending cuts for the capital. Photo: Claudio Álvarez / El País
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• Manuela Carmena says she’ll not back away from 200-mn euro spending hike
• Mayor reaffirms commitment to projected 21% increase in social spending

The mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, has backtracked on an apparent understanding with Spain’s federal Treasury to review municipal government spending levels in the nation’s capital, saying her administration will not back down on its commitment to social spending in order to trim 200 million euros from the city budget at the Treasury’s request.

Carmena, who was elected in 2015 as candidate of the left-wing Ahora Madrid platform, which included support from Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos (We Can), met with Treasury minister Cristóbal Montoro on Monday and following the meeting appeared to acquiesce about the need to review the budget in order to keep overall spending in line with the federal Treasury mandates. In September, Montoro warned Carmena for the second time of a cutoff in the transfer of federal funds to the city if spending limits were not adhered to.

Saying she had “expressed herself poorly” following Monday’s meeting with Montoro, following consultation within Ahora Madrid and other parties backing her administration the Madrid mayor insisted on Tuesday that the budget was within federal guidelines and that her administration would abide by its commitment to increase social spending by 21 percent in the coming year.

► Read More in Spanish at El País, El Confidencial and El Mundo …

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