Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Poor Way To Help The Needy

You have to wonder at times whether the Spanish government has anyone on call to warn them about potential political disasters. Maybe they all go on holiday in August? The announcement was made the other day that the unemployed who have exhausted their eligibility to receive unemployment benefit would receive a replacement payment of €420 a month. It's not a lot of money, but compared to having nothing at all it starts to look better. Not surprisingly, with many households in Spain where no member of the family currently works there were queues forming quickly at the unemployment offices. Then it emerged that the new payment is only available to those who have exhausted their right to benefit after the 1st August. Leaving aside for the moment the evident unfairness of such an arbitrary limit, the simple fact that this wasn't made clear at the time of the announcement has just meant that an issue intended to demonstrate concern for those with no resources to maintain themselves has backfired in the most spectacular way. Is there really nobody at all around the government who saw that one coming?

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