Spain to launch universal basic income 'soon'

 Spain to launch universal basic income 'soon'
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Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said the coronavirus-stricken nation intends to implement a universal basic income program as soon as possible to blunt the pandemic’s economic impact.

Calvino, also the nation’s deputy prime minister, told Spanish broadcaster La Sexta in a Sunday night interview that Spanish Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva plans to implement a basic income plan “as soon as possible,” Bloomberg reported.

While the immediate goal of the program will be to provide relief to families that have lost income due to virus-related lockdowns, the country is developing it with an eye toward making it a resource “that stays forever, that becomes a structural instrument, a permanent instrument,” she said, according to Bloomberg.

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Spain’s virus outbreak is the second-worst in Europe behind Italy, which on Sunday reported a total of 128,948 cases, dipping below Spain’s total of 135,032. The two have the second- and third-highest number of cases behind the U.S., which reported 336,906 cases as of Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, the Spanish health ministry reported the pace of coronavirus deaths fell for the fourth consecutive day, with a total of 13,055 total virus-related deaths. The country’s single-day deaths peaked at 905 on Thursday and have been declining since. The drop came after Spain surpassed China, where the virus is believed to have originated, in the total number infected with the virus in late March when it reached 85,195 confirmed cases.

The Spanish government has implemented numerous relief policies for companies and self-employed workers affected by pandemic-related closures and said more will likely be necessary.