MADRID ( Associated Press) — Spain announced a series of measures Tuesday to ease the economic crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, including removing taxes on foods such as bread and milk and expanding controls on rent and evictions.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the measures in a speech to mark the end of the year. The government will also reduce VAT on cooking oil and pasta from 10% to 5%. Fish and meat products were excluded from VAT cuts.
Sanchez pointed out that three economic aid packages approved since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine in February would cost the country about 45 billion euros ($48 billion), including 10 billion euros for the most recent measures.
He said it aimed to “protect the middle class, workers and workers against increases in the cost of living, energy and food.”
Although inflation and fuel prices have eased in Spain in recent months, many Spaniards are suffering from a crisis that began with the COVID-19 pandemic and worsened with the war in Ukraine.
The government will maintain a reduction in electricity tax from 10% to 5% for the next six months and will hand out checks of 200 euros to those who earn less than 27,000 euros a year. Sanchez said the checks would go to about 4.2 million households.
In addition, the suspension of housing for poor people was extended, a measure that has been in place since the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanchez said those who are due to renew their lease in the next six months will be able to ask for another six months without a rent increase.
In addition, the government will maintain free travel on commuter trains for regular users until 2023, and medium-distance urban buses will be added to the package. The discount on petrol for truckers will also continue.
The measures will be effective from January 1.