Spain's draft budget moves step closer to approval


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MADRID - Spain's 2023 budget bill moved another step closer to its approval on Thursday as the minority leftist government won enough support in the deeply fragmented lower house of parliament to send its spending plan to the Senate.

After the bill cleared its first hurdle in parliament on Oct. 27 by 186-159 votes, lawmakers this time voted the budget article by article.

In the upper chamber, where the document goes now, parties can propose amendments, which, if approved, would require a final vote in the lower house next month. If no new amendments are introduced, the Senate vote will be the last step.

The budget envisages record investment in infrastructure and green energy using EU pandemic recovery funds, and includes strong social spending ahead of national and regional elections next year.

Planned revenues include up to 3.5 billion euros in new, temporary taxes on banks and energy companies, but those taxes will be voted separately later on Thursday.

Spain's growth should slow down to 2.1% from this year's projected 4.4%, according to the document, although the Bank of Spain has recently slashed its 2023 growth forecast to 1.4% and the International Monetary Fund expects a 1.2% expansion.

(Reporting by Belén Carreño, editing by Andrei Khalip)

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