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Rajoy prepares to unveil 'austere' budget
ThinkSpain , Friday, March 30, 2012

The Spanish government is due to unveil what is expected to be one of the toughest budgets in recent history this morning.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has already warned the budget will be "very austere" and cuts in the region of 35billion euros are expected, with health and education funding unlikely to escape.

Large number of protestors took to the streets in yesterday's general strike - an indication that many are losing patience with austerity in a situation many feel has been brought about by imprudent financial institutions, not by the man on the street.

There were violent clashes between strikers and police in a number of cities around the country, with tear gas and rubber bullets being deployed in Barcelona after protestors set rubbish containers alight.

Leaders of the main CCOO and UGT unions, Ignacio Fernández Toxo and Cándido Méndez respectively, made it clear last night, as the general strike drew to a close, that they would not give up their fight and called on the government to sit down at the negotiating table to find a compromise that would boost economic activity and reduce unemployment.

Employment Minister Fátima Báñez told the unions she considered them a hugely important part of society and hoped she could rely on them to maintain an "open and permanent" dialogue with the government, but she also made it clear that the fundamental basis of the labour reform bill were not going to be changed.

Bañez described the government's reform agenda as "unstoppable" and underlined the fact that the new legislation had been passed by Congress.

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