Government to sell 15,000 properties to raise funds

Prime minister announces raft of cost-cutting measures

As part of its ongoing efforts to bring down the deficit, the government announced on Wednesday that it is planning to sell around 15,000 properties that it owns. The move is just one of 217 measures contained in a package of reforms aimed at slimming down Spain’s public administrations. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the measures were aimed at “fighting without quarter against the crisis.”

The reforms, in particular measures to reduce the duplication of work, were repeatedly promised by the Popular Party during the election campaign, and had also been demanded by Spain’s biggest employers association, the CEOE, as well as by many citizens.

According to Rajoy, the analysis the government has carried out prior to finalizing the reforms is “the most meticulous that has been done of our public sector in the history of democracy.” Many of the changes that were proposed on Wednesday by the prime minister, however, are merely recommendations that the regional governments will be able to choose whether to adopt or not.

Among the reform package are plans for a centralized purchasing department. The Spanish state has 4,823 bank accounts, and less than 10 percent correspond to the Bank of Spain. The government wants to unite these accounts, and create a centralized purchasing platform, aimed at controlling the commercial debt of the public sector.

In addition, the government will encourage the use of electronic official notifications, which cost just 0.19 euros each, in place of postal notifications, which cost 2.50 euros. The government will also continue to reduce the number of official cars and chauffeurs it uses, and move currently expensive car parks to cheaper locations.

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