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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spain prepares for more painful austerity | Rest of developed world to follow!

(Reuters) - Spain will announce another round of unpopular austerity measures in a 2013 budget on Thursday, already prompting protests from a public battered by attempts to put the country's finances in order. A demonstrator holds a sign that reads 'No' as they wait for the start of an anti-austerity demonstration in Madrid September 25, 2012. REUTERS-Susana Vera
With this year's budget deficit target looking untenable, the conservative government is now looking at such things as cuts in inflation-linked pensions, taxes on stock transactions, "green taxes" on emissions or eliminating tax breaks.
The 2013 budget is the second one conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has had to pass since he took office in December. It must persuade Spain's European partners that it can cut the budget shortfall by more than 60 billion euros by 2014.
Rajoy has already passed spending cuts and tax hikes worth slightly more than that over the next two years, but half-year figures show the 2012 deficit target slipping from view as tax income forecasts will not be hit due to economic contraction.
Spain is at the centre of the euro zone debt crisis on concerns the government can't control its finances and those of highly-indebted regions, bitten by a second recession since 2009 which has put one in four workers out of a job and pushed up borrowing costs.
Protests against the cuts are gaining pace. More than 1,000 police barricaded Parliament in Madrid on Tuesday against protesters who planned to form a human chain around the building later in the evening.

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