The Spanish government is considering the possibility of imposing additional taxes on the owners of cars that produce above-average levels of pollution (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). One of the main targets for such a potential law would be 4x4 vehicles, especially those that use diesel fuel. The Spanish vicepresident and minister of economy Elena Salgada broached the subject yesterday, although she discounted it as an imminent move but added that at some point it would be necessary to bring environmental taxes into line with EU requirements so that those who cause more pollution pay more. In addition, the environmental minister Rosa Aguilar said that she will propose carrying out a study of fiscal policy regarding the taxing of vehicles that emit high levels of pollutants.
There is a growing rejection amongst Spaniards regarding the number of foreigners living in the country according to research carried out by the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicos (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia).The findings of the investigation show that perceptions held by Spaniards on the subject are firm if inaccurate. For example, many believe that immigrants are the group that receive the most financial assistance in Spain, even more than elderly people who live alone. There is also a lack of knowledge about exactly how many immigrants there are living in Spain; currently about 10 percent of the population here is made up of foreigners, but Spaniards perceive the figure to be double that. In addition, only 17 percent (a fall of three percent since 2008) believes that the number of immigrants here is an acceptable amount, while 70 percent believe that laws dealing with immigration are tolerant or too tolerant.
Barcelona's Socialist City Council is looking at ways to rehabilitate some areas of the Raval neighbourhood, specifically the streets of Sant Ramon and Robadors, including forcing building owners to do up their properties or face losing them (read article in Catalan here, Avui). However, opposition parties in the council, CiU, PP and ERC, have said that although they are in favour of doing up the area, they have doubts about how this initiative could be applied and managed. The head of CiU's municipal group and mayoral candidate, Xavier Trias, said that the plan was "good and positive" but added that it was a shame it had taken so long to come to fruition, saying that until now the council hadn't bothered about what was going on inside some of the houses on these streets, including prostitution. Current mayor Jordi Hereu replied to this criticism that his council had "never abandoned the Raval". Trias also criticised the fact that the financing of the scheme was unclear. Alberto Fernández Díaz leader of the PP in the council also voiced his concern that the plan was coming to light just a few months before council elections are due to take place, so it could be a totally different council that actually has to carry out the work. Fernández Díaz added that his group had presented a similar proposal in the past that had been rejected by the council. Finally, ERC mayoral candidate Jordi Portabella said that the plan had an improvised air, in particular because it requires new organisations and levels of coordination with the Generalitat that are not currently in place.