1887

Restoring fiscal sustainability

Spain’s government has recently introduced an ambitious set of consolidation measures. Should budgetary outcomes fall short of targets, the government should stand ready to introduce further measures, as announced. Such measures could include subjecting more goods and services to the standard value added tax rate. They could also be used to fund a reduction in some social security contributions paid by employers. Once sufficient progress towards fiscal consolidation has been achieved, a further reform of the tax system towards more growth-friendly taxes should be contemplated. Spain also faces a dramatic increase in ageing-related public spending, mostly on account of pensions. The government proposal to increase the statutory retirement age by two years is a welcome step but further reforms in the pension system will be necessary to contain expenditure growth. Rules on the budget balances for each level of government should be reviewed so as to induce regional governments to run larger budget surpluses when activity exceeds potential.

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