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Spain will introduce a series of temporary taxes on banks and energy companies to help people cope with soaring inflation and spiking utility costs caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the tax scheme and other public relief measures during a State of the Nation parliamentary debate, the first since 2015.
The Socialist leader said the taxes on banks, natural gas, electricity and petroleum companies are projected to bring in $7 billion over two years. He added that the government is planning more relief packages to also include free commuter rail passes between September and December and discounts for urban mass transit services.
He said the economic situation is making it challenging for Spaniards “to make ends meet.” Still, he urged Spanish consumers to conserve energy by working from home more often and using less heating and air conditioning.
Sánchez’ speech comes a month after the Spanish government unveiled an emergency economic package worth more than $9 billion.
Despite efforts to aid the Spanish with their financial difficulties, Sánchez’ popularity has declined three years after taking office.
Spain emerged from the pandemic with a bright economic outlook but the conflict in Ukraine, surging inflation, high energy costs and high unemployment are now serious roadblocks to recovery.