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Government to tighten up on island travel subsidy fraud
ThinkSpain , Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Ministry of Public Works is planning to introduce a series of measures aimed at tackling fraud in the purchase of subsidised airline tickets for Spain's island residents, and is likely to return to the system of requiring holders of these discounted tickets to produce their Canary or Balearic Islands resident's certificate (certificado de empadronamiento).

The government announced last week that it plans to reduce the budget for subsidising tickets for eligible residents in the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla making trips to the mainland or on inter-island routes by 65 million euros this year, whilst at the same time maintaining the current 50% discount.

It is still unclear how or when this will be implemented, but the government has said that in practice the cut will only be 43 million euros, because the 2011 budget was not fully exhausted.  The savings are expected to come from other measures, such as changes to subsidies on certain types of business class tickets, or by reducing fraud committed by non-eleigible mainland residents.

In her statement to the press today, Ana Pastor, the Minister Public Works said that the budget cuts would come from "management improvements", including the "requirement to provide a certificate of island residency" and the "suppression of business class on maritime routes".

Currently, residents in the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla can prove their right to the subsidy in two ways: by providing a certificate of residence issued by the local council or simply by presenting their ID card that shows an address in any of those territories.

Pastor confirmed that this tightening up on subsidy fraud had been included in the draft budget for 2012, but could not specify how it would be applied, or when it would start.

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