José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced at the news conference at Madrid's Moncloa Palace that the Spanish government will allow unemployed workers to delay making half their mortgage payments for two years. REUTERS / Andrea Comas (SPAIN)
Up to 500,000 unemployed people - 15,000 of them in the province of Malaga - will be able to delay making 50 per cent of their mortgage payments for two years. That was part of the package of measures to confront the credit crisis announced yesterday by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in a news conference at Moncloa Palace. Other measures include benefits of 1,500 euros for employers who take on the registered unemployed with family responsibilities.
Those who will qualify for delaying half their mortgage payments are those with a loan not higher than 170,000 euros taken out before September 1st 2008. The payment reduction will have a limit of 500 euros over a maximum period of 24 months. The 50 per cent reduction will then be spread over the remaining term of the loan with a maximum of 10 years. The measure applies to those who have recently become unemployed or who lose their jobs before January 1st 2010; self-employed persons with family responsibilities who have had to close their businesses or whose income has fallen drastically below a certain level as a result of the financial crisis; and widowed pensioners with family responsibilities.
Hopeful home buyers who have bank accounts tailored specifically for such a purpose will also benefit. Those whose home buyers' accounts are due to expire soon will be able to continue gaining the tax benefits until the property market starts to recover.
Workers who earn less than 33,000 euros gross a year and who are paying for their first home will have their income tax payments reduced by two per cent. However this benefit will come in the form of a tax rebate next year when included in a tax return.
Reactions to the announcement of the measures, which are to be approved on Friday, were not long in coming. The opposition PP party support the package but have classed it as insufficient and consumers associations consider that many families in need will be left out of this first package of financial help.