Parliament approves landmark budget which includes labour reform and a new spending programme boosted by $80 billion from EU's coronavirus funds.
Spain's lower house has approved the minority leftist government's 2022 budget bill in its final reading after lawmakers voted in favour of a small amendment proposed by the Senate, which had held up the final approval by a week.
The amendment vote passed on Tuesday by a resounding majority, automatically leading to the approval of the bill, which has been backed by Catalan separatists ERC and a handful of other small regional parties.
The budget got the final go-ahead after 281 politicians voted in favour of a final amendment and just 62 voted against it.
"Hopefully this will be the prologue to many more agreements," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted shortly after the result was announced. "We will be working on that."
The approval marks the first time Spain has passed two consecutive annual budget bills since 2014, he said in parliament.
Between 2016 and 2020 a fractious parliament prevented any accord on spending plans, meaning the same budget was rolled over year after year.
$509 billion budget
An array of left-leaning and nationalist lawmakers gave the final go-ahead to Spain's $509 billion budget for 2022, which allocates more than half of the funds to education, health, pensions, subsidies and other forms of social spending.
Drawing on the first tranche of $79.11 billion from the European Union’s Covid-19 recovery funds, the 2022 budget includes a historic amount of social spending – nearly $282.55 billion.
The budget includes a record investment of $45.31 billion.
To boost the cultural sector, everyone turning 18 years old will also be given a $452 grant to spend on items like books or activities like concerts or theater.
Around 70,000 people aged 18 to 35 could also benefit from an up to $283 per month grant that the government is offering to help mid-low earners afford rent.
Thanks in part to the EU funds, the government expects economic growth to accelerate to 7 percent in 2022 against this year's projected 6.5 percent rebound from a record Covid-induced slump.
But the central bank and several international organisations have less optimistic forecasts.