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The CES criticizes the fuel bonus as ineffective and regressive | Economy

A man refuels at a gas station, on May 13, 2022, in Madrid (Spain).
A man refuels at a gas station, on May 13, 2022, in Madrid (Spain).Alberto Ortega (Europe Press)

The Economic and Social Council (CES) has been clear: among the measures it considers to be the most basic to fight against rising prices, particularly energy prices, is setting a maximum cap on gas, while the bonus of 20 cents per liter of fuel “has been ineffective in its objective of reducing prices.” The measure, which the President of the Government Pedro Sánchez has announced that he will extend for three more months, is also “regressive” fiscally and “collides with the objective of decarbonising the economy”, adds the agency in its Report on the socioeconomic and labor situation Spain 2021presented this Wednesday.

“The most relevant measure to control the increase in prices will be the fixing of the maximum price of gas, and it is, in addition, a positive step for the control of inflation that can help reduce the extraordinary profits of the energy sector”, he indicated. this Wednesday Raymond Torres, member of the CES and president of the commission that has prepared the report.

Regarding inequality, the CES considers it necessary to increase investment in social protection and its distributive scope, since the ability to prevent this phenomenon is “limited” in Spain in relation to other countries. For this reason, and taking as an immediate problem to solve the rise in energy costs ―which affects households with lower incomes to a greater degree―, the public body positively values ​​the creation of a benefit similar to that of the Minimum Vital Income (IMV ) with which to combat energy poverty.

“The experience of the IMV now allows us to know how to better manage a mechanism like this, since the Administration has improved its capabilities. This instrument of relief for the households most affected by the rise in prices can work more quickly and efficiently than the IMV could work”, indicated Costas.

In relation to the energy transition, the CES considers that Spain counts its abundant renewable resources as a strength, and that in the face of this circumstance, the risk focuses on the fact that an excessively slow pace could cause negative effects on the environment, in addition to “disadjustments economic, labor and social that generate disaffection in the citizenship”. This transition, the public body understands, must ensure that it is fair for the small business fabric, rely on “digitalization without gaps”, be present in rural areas and be inclusive from an economic point of view. For this, it will be necessary “to have social dialogue and inter-institutional cooperation at all levels of the Administration”.

downward revision

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The document values ​​that the improvement in the international economic context, together with the success of the vaccination process, the dynamism of employment and the prolongation of the expansive tone of demand policies, allowed the growth of the Spanish economy by 5.1%, after the fall of 10.8% in 2020. However, the inflationary effects caused by the war in Ukraine “have completely changed the panorama,” says the report, which has led to “revising downwards all forecasts on the rate of progress of the recovery.

Faced with this change in scenario, the document of the consultative body considers evident “the need to reform the framework of fiscal rules of the European Union, in order to be able to articulate national discretionary fiscal policies in the face of unexpected disturbances and allow gradual fiscal consolidation paths to the countries more indebted like Spain”.

The CES also warns that the improvement in the labor market “is proving uneven”. In his memory, he warns that there is still a lower labor participation than in 2019, especially among those workers at younger ages and those who would like to work, but are not actively seeking employment. The net creation of employment, in addition, is taking place in activities other than those that suffered a greater drop due to the pandemic. A situation that, in the opinion of the CES, is causing the decline of some sectors (such as textiles) and is “polarizing” the structure of occupations, distinguishing even more between those that require high or low qualifications.

The president of the organization, Antón Costas, has appealed to the need to expand the labor market to incorporate both a greater number of people and new territories with the capacity to attract them. “We need better jobs for more people and in more places in the country. It is neither more nor less than the challenge we had before the pandemic, and that we also have now that we are recovering, ”he indicated this Wednesday during the exhibition of the memory.

social dialogue

In the memory, of more than 600 pages, the different actions carried out during the past year to face the effects of the pandemic are reviewed and evaluated, both in the economic panorama, as in employment and labor relations, and the effects that these had in terms of quality of life, protection and social inclusion.

Within the relaunch of employment, the CES praises the performance of social dialogue, especially for its ability to implement formulas such as temporary employment regulation files (ERTE). However, the inability of the Government to carry out the Income Agreement, as well as of unions and employers to renew the Agreement for Employment and Collective Bargaining (AENC), predicts a series of mobilizations. “I am hopeful that the social agents have the capacity that they have always shown to reach an agreement,” Costas indicated.

Regarding the vacancies that the labor market collects (just over 109,000 jobs), the CES report considers it necessary to “intermediate the public employment services to achieve a better match between the offer and the demand for employment”. Likewise, it values ​​the possibilities offered by digitization, since “it has the potential to create better jobs and generate decent work” despite the fact that, in the same way, “it can open new labor gaps or widen existing ones”. For the advisory body, it is “advisable to integrate the treatment of these new realities in the instruments of labor relations, among others, in collective bargaining.”

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