Gov’t eyes rent moratorium, minimum income relief

Health Min. Salvador Illa (L) & V-P/Min. of Economic Affairs Nadia Calviño. Photo: Min. Health / El Confidencial
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Spain’s Vice-President for Economic Affairs Nadia Calviño confirmed on Monday that the government is considering a temporary moratorium on residential rent payments for those struggling to meet ends meet because of Spain’s coronavirus lockdown, while pressure is mounting on the coalition government led by Socialist President Pedro Sánchez to establish a temporary guaranteed minimimum income to help vulnerable families make it through the crisis.

Calviño said during a press conference Monday that the cabinet-level Consejo de Ministros is considering decreeing a moratorium on rent payments to protect those groups in society that are most vulnerable to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. The proposal on the rent moratorium will not be considered by the Consejo in its regular meeting today, Calviño said, but is likely to be taken up and approved at next week’s meeting of the ministerial cabinet.

The announcement by Calviño, seen to be one of the government’s proponents of fiscal orthodoxy as its liaison with European and global financial institutions, comes after weeks of debate within the Sánchez cabinet on the extent of increased social spending that Spain can manage with the economy in free fall and the prospect of a quick economic recovery looking more stark as each day passes.

► News Sources: El País, El Confidencial and Público …

Within the government, pressure both for the rent moratorium and the guaranteed basic income for struggling households has been coming from the Socialists’ governing partners, Unidas Podemos, as well as some Socialist and independent ministers appointed by Sánchez himself.

On Monday, however, the push for the guaranteed income during the coronavirus crisis got a boost from an unexpected source, Luis de Guindos, the Vice President of the European Central Bank (ECB) and former Spanish Economy Minister under the conservative Partido Popular governments of Mariano Rajoy, who came out in support of the idea.

De Guindos, whose economic instincts and performance as Spain’s Minister of the Economy were orthodox nearly to the extreme, told La Sexta in an interview on Sunday that the economies of the European Union countries will definitely go into recession this year as a result of the coronavirus crisis and that under the circumstances he would be in favor of a minimum emergency income in Spain to avoid a social crisis.

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