12 Apr, 2024 @ 12:59
2 mins read

Spain’s prime minister promises more affordable housing at meeting with sector representatives, but opposition accuses him of electioneering

Housing minister Isabel Rodriguez
La Moncloa

SPAIN’S Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met with representatives from the housing sector on Thursday, and pledged that his government would work to address Spain’s chronic lack of affordable public housing. 

Accompanying Sanchez at the meeting was Housing Minister Isabel Rodriguez, as well as representatives from Seopan, Spain’s association of major construction companies, the CGATE architects association, labour unions CCOO and UGT, and campaigning associations such as ProVivienda, among others.

After the meeting, Rodriguez said that the Socialist-led government would seek to amend legislation to facilitate the financing of new housing projects, as well as encouraging property owners to put more affordable housing on the market, so that no more than 30% of family income is spent on housing. 

“We need them,” Rodriguez said about these landlords, in comments reported by news agency EFE, given that 95% of rental accommodation is in the hands of private owners. 

Read more: Airbnb crackdown in Spain: Government wants to limit holiday flats in ‘saturated’ areas

Housing minister Isabel Rodriguez
Housing Minister Isabel Rodriguez. Credit: La Moncloa

Rodriguez also reported that all present at the meeting ‘agreed with the objective of increasing supply to guarantee the right to an affordable place to live’.

“We are all united over this common objective and we have left with the commitment to strengthen public-private collaboration to increase the public pool of housing […],” she added. 

The main opposition Partido Popular (PP), however, was quick to slam the initiatives from the Socialists, who are governing in coalition with leftist alliance Sumar. 

“Today, six years after having arrived in La Moncloa [prime ministerial palace], he is starting to show concern for a problem that is asphyxiating many Spaniards: housing,” said PP spokesperson Cuca Gamarra. “Obviously what this shows is that for six years he has not done a single thing.”

Gamarra went on to accuse Sanchez of raising the issue whenever an election was looming.

“Every time there is an election campaign, he makes an announcement about a number of homes that no one ends up seeing,” she claimed, in reference to upcoming polls in both the Catalunya and Pais Vasco regions. 

She also said that Spain was suffering an ‘absence of government’, because ‘faced with real problems, the government is doing other things’.

Meanwhile, ahead of the meeting on Thursday, the Tenants Unions in Madrid and Catalunya issued a joint statement drawing attention to the issues they claim are facing the Spanish housing market. 

“The housing problem is not technical, it is political: it is about deciding once and for all whether the government wants housing to be a right or whether it wants it to continue to create massive profits for a few,” the unions said. 

“What is the point of building more housing in the midst of a global resource crisis when there are millions of empty homes in Spain?,” they continued. “We demand the lowering of rents by law, an end to fraud in seasonal rentals and room rentals.”

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

IN PICTURES: Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo meets David Cameron in Brussels ahead of crunch talks with Spain and the EU

5 bedroom Townhouse for sale in Arona with pool garage - € 1
Next Story

5 bedroom Townhouse for sale in Arona with pool garage – € 1,850,000

Latest from Economy

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press