The government will save at least €37.7 billion (4% of GDP) over the next three years under its restructuring of public administrations, and this will be achieved without job losses, according to Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría.
Most of the cost-cutting measures, approved on Friday by the Cabinet, will be passed on to taxpayers. The measures include the merger or elimination of 57 public bodies and organizations,
The Popular Party (PP) government is reported as saying that the figures are ‘conservative estimates’ and under the plan approved by the Cabinet there will be no layoffs.
The reforms are not being made to reduce the public payroll but to make government more efficient. The earlier across-the-board cuts, the so-called austerity measures, introduced by the Government since it came to power in 2011 have resulted in the loss of 375,000 public jobs.
The Government now says it wants to end the destruction of jobs and that is why it is introducing these measures.
The question to be asked is, if such non-destructive measures will save such a huge amount of money, 4% of GDP, why weren’t they introduced first, before the destructive measures?
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called upon the regions to make similar adjustments in their governments, such as eliminating regional ombudsman offices and local audit courts. However, by law, Rajoy cannot order the regional leaders to make these cuts and some have begun to show resistance to the idea. One of the main objections to the recommendation that the ombudsman and audit courts be eliminated is that regional statutes contain provisions for their existence.
Cataluña, for example, maintains separate so-called ’embassies’ or ‘trade offices’ in Brussels, Paris, London, Berlin and New York. Now there’s a cushy number if ever there was one.
One can also imagine that the savings being outlined by these new measures are merely scratching the surface in terms of potential cost reductions within government.