STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE opposition Partido Popular (PP) and Majorcan Unionist (UM) parties in the Balearic Parliament successfully clipped the wings of the ruling Socialist coalition yesterday by forcing through a vote obliging the government to inform all other parties of any changes in current budget arrangements for 2011.

Because the Parliamentary parties have not been able to agree on new figures for next year's budget - largely because the Socialists wish to put up taxes on wealthy incomes whilst the opposition wants public spending to be cut - the government is entitled to roll over the already-agreed budget for 2010 into next year.

The government has meanwhile come in for sharp criticism from opposition parties because for the first time in the history of the democracy of the Balearic Islands, an official budget for the coming year has not been tabled before Parliament. “It's totally unacceptable that this government has not put forward figures for democratic debate,” accused PP MP Mabel Cabrer.

MPs saw fit to reject, however, a further item of the PP proposal which suggested that Parliament should have a say whether or not the government can increase its public deficit. The UM refused to sign up to the motion, because given the fact that the region is receiving less income from business taxation as a result of the economic crisis, it didn't want the government to opt for putting up taxes, a move about which the UM has already registered disapproval. “We understand that borrowing is a strategy for balancing the books,” said a UM spokesman.

The Partido Popular proposal also demanded that the government should immediately provide to Parliament an account of its income and expenditure and that a financial report should be drawn up to explain how the Socialist coalition plans to extend the 2010 budget into next year.

UM Parliamentary spokesman, Josep Melia said that a government which was not capable of presenting its budgetary programme and getting other parties to approve it “should go.” Opposition parties also drew attention yesterday to the fact that very little of the money promised to the Balearic Islands by Central Government during the term of office of the present government had in fact materialised. “In the middle of a crisis, this is highly serious,” said Cabrer.

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