Catalonia says spending cuts ‘impossible’

The Spanish region of Catalonia will not make the spending cuts necessary to achieve its 2013 budget deficit as they would be impossible to impose, Catalonia economics minister Andreu Mas-Colell said yesterday.

Catalonia would need to cut €4.8 billion (£4.1bn) from its budget, which includes health and education, to meet the central government’s target of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product, Mr Mas-Colell said.

“We will not make these cuts,” he said. “It is just impossible, I don’t know how to even start.”

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Reining in the spending of Spain’s 17 regional governments is key to the country achieving overall budget deficit targets imposed by Brussels. Spain is likely to be given more time and this bit of leeway will be passed on to the regions.

Catalonia, whose leader Artur Mas is driving for independence, has an economy almost as big as Portugal’s and generates a fifth of Spanish gross domestic ­product.