STAFF REPORTER
PALMA

THE Balearic government is planning to slash its budget by 120 million euros this year through reduction in public spending, chiefly on projects to which it is not yet committed, Josep Oliver, Balearic Business Federation (CAEB) President said yesterday.

Oliver, speaking after a meeting with Balearic President Francesc Antich, added that the government is also studying plans to raise taxes next year on the top income bracket as well as on inheritance.

CAEB's President said that Antich also mentioned cuts and mergers in public organisations whether they be municipal companies, societies or foundations. He had not, however, said Oliver, put any specific names up for discussion.

Oliver's report was supported by statement's made after the same meeting by government spokesperson, Joana Barcelo, also the regional Tourism Minister. She said that President Antich was going to further his plans for cuts and mergers after meetings scheduled for Monday with the opposition Partido Popular and Majorcan Unionist parties. Barcelo said that government policy would aim to make the public service system in the Balearics “more efficient.” Barcelo said that Antich wanted to take “specific action” to save money and to introduce Central Government's measures aimed at cutting the national deficit. Barcelo refused to be drawn on the sums which need to be saved but remarked that “they are significant.” She said that not only does the government want to restructure its public administration but wants the opposition parties to support the move. “We'll be much more effective with a united front,” Barcelo suggested.

The spokesperson said that President Antich was anxious to announce firm measures as quickly as possible and forecast that an official statement would be made following next week's meetings with the opposition parties. Yesterday's meeting, held at the Consulat de Mar government offices in Palma, included nearly all regional government ministers, social organisations and business community representatives.

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