Spain to offer families minimum monthly income

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 28: Spanish flag flies at half mast because of the official mourning declared by the government for ten days in memory of the COVID 19 victims on May 28, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. All regions of Spain have now entered either Phase One or Phase Two of the transition from its coronavirus lockdown. This allows many shops to reopen as well as restaurants serving customers outdoors. Major metropolitan areas that were harder hit by coronavirus (Covid-19), such as Madrid and Barcelona, remain in Phase One. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

MADRID — The Spanish government will provide more money for the country’s most impoverished 850,000 families so they can reach a minimum monthly income in the nation’s first attempt to guarantee a basic salary.

The plan was approved by the ruling left-wing coalition led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. The leader of the Spanish Socialist Party is under pressure to spur economic recovery and reduce the fallout from a two-month lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus that’s killed at least 27,000.

Citizens over 21 will be eligible for benefits if they don’t meet a minimum monthly income ranging from 461 euros ($513) to 1,015 euros ($1,130), depending on the number of family members. Migrants who have been in Spain for more than one year can apply.

Social Security Minister José Luis Escrivá says the measure intends to reduce poverty and inequality. He says 100,000 households will immediately benefit and the government aims to include 750,000 more in coming months. The total cost for Spain’s public coffers is estimated at 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) annually.

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