The Junta de Andalucía regional government has announced its draft budget for next year. Total expenditure would be 40.2 billion euros and the plan will now go to regional MPs to debate and approve before coming into effect. The ruling centre-right coalition of PP- Ciudadanos needs the support of hard-right Vox to win the vote.
The planned spending would be an increase of 3.7% on the 2020 budget and include a 450- million-euro reserve fund for unexpected costs linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The regional ministers for Finance and Economic Transformation, Juan Bravo and Rogelio Velasco, presented the spending plans on Wednesday as "thorough", "realistic" and "credible". They added that the aim was to encourage people to spend and companies to invest. However they admitted that the plan was a working document and they were prepared to negotiate in order to win approval from MPs.
As usual, the biggest cost would be the running of the regional health service, with 11.6bn euros set aside. This would be 6.4% more than the 2020 budget, increasing healthcare staff up to 118,000. Spending on health would make up almost 7% of regional GDP.
However the PSOE opposition has already said this would be a cut on this year in real terms, as with the pandemic and central government's emergency funding, regional health spending has already reached 11.9bn in 2020.
Alongside Health, the other two big spending departments are Education and Dependency Care. Education spending would rise by 544m euros to 8.3bn, with an increase in teachers. Dependency care services spending would go up to 1.6 billion euros.
Inside the plan is 3.9 billion euros for investment spending, principally focused on combating climate change and improving the digital economy.
Direct investment in Malaga province would be 262m euros, an increase of 54m on 2020. The biggest local spending would be on finishing the latest stretch of Malaga's metro and on road safety improvements. There is no funding set aside for a planned new Malaga hospital.