Minister of Social Security José Luis Escrivá confirmed in a committee hearing in Spain’s Congress on Wednesday that a new minimum income proposal for families most vulnerable to the negative impacts of the coronavirus crisis will be approved and presented to Congress in the coming weeks.
The announcement puts to rest reports of internal debate within the coalition government led by President Pedros Sánchez over whether to immediately launch an exceptional emergency minimum income package as was being urged by coalition government partners Unidas Podemos or wait to put forward for congressional approval this summer a global minimum income proposal being developed by the Social Security ministry prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Escrivá, the overall minimum income package will now be presented to Congress in the coming weeks, not months, and will include social assistance benefits to an estimated 100,000 single-parent households, those deemed most vulnerable to the negative fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
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Escrivá told congress that the government sees it as “absolutely necessary” to put the minimum income package in place to help households in which annual earnings are below the minimum cut-off point for the annual IRPF income tax filing or who work in the so-called “shadow economy” with unreported earnings.
The government, he said, intends to rely on best practices from minimum-income programs in other European countries and will also involve incentives to incorporate individuals into the labour market.
The compromise over whether to immediately present an emergency minimum-income plan or wait for a comprehensive program to be finalized for presentation later was reportedly reached on Tuesday in a phone call between Sánchez and Unidas Podemos leader and 2nd Vice-President Pablo Iglesias.
According to sources widely cited by Spanish news media, the two leaders agreed that the proposal will be worked on jointly by officials from both Iglesias’ Social Affairs Ministray and the Social Security Ministry led by Escrivá and will be presented to Congress in early May.
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