Spain PM renews key jobless benefit in crisis
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Tuesday he would renew a key benefit payment for the long-term unemployed, after speculation it would be cut due to the crisis.
Rajoy told reporters the government would on August 24 approve the renewal of the 400-euro ($493) monthly allowance in order to protect poor families suffering in Spain's recession.
The long-term unemployment benefit was introduced by the former Socialist government and had been due to expire on August 15.
One in four workers are unemployed in Spain and pressure had risen in recent days from the political opposition for Rajoy's conservative government to renew the allowance.
Among tens of billions of euros' worth of crisis measures announced by Rajoy last month were new pay cuts and restrictions on certain other benefits for those in the first few months of unemployment.
"The government is taking complex and difficult decisions, decisions which not many people like, but we are always trying to preserve those people who are in a very difficult situation," he said Tuesday.
"Therefore we are going to renew it," he said of the allowance, speaking to reporters after meeting with King Juan Carlos at the Marivent royal residence on the island of Mallorca.
"We are going to try to make it function better than it has since it has existed, because the aim was to get all these people into work and that has not really happened," Rajoy said.