by Staff Reporter
THE State budgets which show a 34 percent drop in funds for the Balearics, reflect the discrepancies between the central and regional governments over the roads agreement, according to former leader Francesc Antich.

Antich, now a socialist deputy, did confirm, however, that although the increase in the discount on flights between the islands and to the Peninsula, from 33 to 38 percent from January 1, had not been included in the budget, it would be included in an amendment.

He also said that the central government was prepared to negotiate a discount of 50 percent if, as the Partido Popular had offered, the Balearic government was prepared to pay the other 12 percent.

According to Antich, if an agreement had been reached over roads, the drop in government spending would have been less.
Antich also said that the State budget also included a cost of living bonus for civil servants and that the Balearics, in keeping with other regions, would benefit from an increase in social welfare spending.

And, he said, the real investment in housing in the Balearics will go up by 120 percent.
The former Balearic leader also asked rhetorically if the reason why there was no funding for the railway was because the Partido Popular had not presented any projects.

Antich was speaking at the socialist party's headquarters, and although he admitted that the budget was no cause for celebration he said that the omission of the increased travel discount was “an oversight and an error.” But public works minister Mabel Cabrer said that it was not an oversight.
She accused Antich of “laughing” at the Balearic government and said it was “unacceptable” that the roads agreement should not be fulfilled. She added that the road works planned for 2005 had been approved by the Spanish Cabinet and fulfilled all the requisites.

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