The Spanish government has announced that it is willing to extend the new unemployment benefit for those people no longer eligible for the standard subsidy, to include anyone who has not claimed anything since June 1st (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). When the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero first introduced the extra money in the middle of last month, it was only made available to those people whose normal unemployment benefit (paro) had run out on August 1st, leaving many people with no right to claim it. The Minister for Employment, Celestine Corbacho, has met with representatives from trade unions to discuss the move to extend eligibility, which would affect some 100,000 people; however the unions said that it was still insufficient because it offers no respite to the many people who lost their job at the end of last year, and whose benefit ran out much earlier than June. They want the government to let anyone who stopped receiving the paro in January to be allowed to claim the additional benefit.
The future merger of the Caixes de Sabadell, Terrassa and Manlleu has come up against an obstacle in the plan to name the new entity, the Unió de Caixes Catalanes (UCC)—the website with this name has already been officially registered by somebody else (article in Catalan, Avui). The UCC moniker was the first proposal for the fused company, which has not yet been formed as the merger process is still ongoing. As part of this process, the three savings banks are exploring the possibility of reducing the collective number of staff by initiating early retirement amongst personnel aged between 58 and 64.
Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is still examining different ways open to him to raise more public money (article in Castilian, El Periodico). Following suggestions last week that income tax on high-earners could be increased to deal with the growing public deficit, it seems that the Spanish government has now decided against such a move. Instead, Zapatero is considering raising taxes on capital made from bank deposits, investment funds and profits on the sale of stock and property. He is also deciding whether to get rid of the planned €400 discount on income tax (IRPF), which was part of last year's general election campaigning.
Also in the news: Cost of office rentals falls by 25 percent in Barcelona (La Vanguardia); More than half Spanish population to be vaccinated against swine flu (El Periodico); Apartment's windows broken by works on high-speed train link (Avui)