Spain raises minimum wage

Spain’s minimum wage will rise by
1.3 per cent in 2011, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has
announced.

The increase will take monthly
minimum pay to $851.

Mr Zapatero said state pensions
would go up by at least the same percentage – and more in the case of those
receiving the smallest pensions.

He told a news conference the
government was making “a special effort at solidarity” despite
Spain’s economic crisis.

The proposed rise in the minimum
wage is well below inflation, which is currently 2.3 per cent a year in Spain.

The prime minister predicted that
Spain would go from recession to recovery in 2011 after “a difficult
year” in 2010.

This view has already been endorsed
by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which
said earlier this month that Spain’s economy would grow by 0.9 per cent in 2011
and by 1.8 per cent in 2012.

The country’s unemployment, which
at almost 20 per cent is the highest in the EU, would “drop slightly”
to 19.1 per cent next year and to 17.4 per cent in 2012, the OECD said.

The body also reiterated its
forecast that the government’s budget deficit would be 9.2 per cent this year,
6.3 per cent in 2011 and 4.4 per cent in 2012.

The Spanish government is currently
able to borrow money from the international money markets in order to fund its
debts, although at much higher rates than before the eurozone debt crisis
began.

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