Madrid/Palma.—The government has unveiled plans to cut the salaries of small-town mayors and councillors in a drive to save seven billion euros in its crisis cost-saving campaign.

Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said the savings made by cutting payments and slashing layers of “doubling-up” between regional and provincial bodies would save Spain 7.129 billion euros between 2013 and 2015. Control of certain health, education, housing and social security services will be shifted to the bigger regional authorities and various municipal and small local groupings will be scrapped, he added.

Junior ministers
Under the reform, yet to be approved by judicial authorities, 82 percent of councillors and mayors of towns with fewer than 1'000 inhabitants “will carry out their political activities without being paid for them”, he said.

Mayors of big cities will have their salaries capped so they do not exceed those of junior ministers, Montoro told a news conference. “It is not a matter of reducing the functions of municipalities but rather of reorganising them,” he added.
Spain's conservative government is fighting to stabilise the country's finances by lowering its public deficit.
Recession
It has said it aims to make total savings of 150 billion euros between 2012 and 2014.
A recession brought on by the collapse of a building boom in 2008 has driven Spain's unemployment rate above 26 percent.