United Left has attacked Spain’s right wing Popular Party government for accelerating the failed ‘hard ajustment’ policies of the previous Socialist government, as new figures showed a further rise in unemployment to a near 17-year high.
Official data released today put the jobless total at 5.3 million or 23%, underlining the damage of sharp spending cuts and tax rises for the majority that cost José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s socialists the election in November and which new pm Mariano Rajoy is planning to deepen in a bid to cut the deficit.
‘With 5.3 million unemployed a radical change in anti-crisis strategy is crucial,’ said United Left federal coordinator Cayo Lara at a press conference today.
Lara called on the government to ‘break the viscious cycle’ of austerity, which he said was leading to ever rising unemployment. Instead he called for progressive tax reforms, a fight against tax evasion, investment in public services and the creation of public bank to boost growth and jobs.
Lara predicted that Spain would see a further half million unemployed if the economy contracted this year by the 1.5-1.7% expected by the IMF and Bank of Spain respectively, and while premier Rajoy ‘persists in his line, without taking a single measure to create jobs.’