The ‘purple’ wing of the Government has proposed on Monday to intervene in the food market in order to lower the price of the basic shopping basket and cap their prices until they reach the values prior to the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine. In addition, they will anticipate a possible refusal by their Executive partners and will open up to study direct discounts on the price of food, but they will develop a tax on large distribution companies to compensate for the use of public funds.
Sources from Podemos have explained to Europa Press that they consider it “essential” that the Executive adopt “courageous” measures, as has already been done with energy or public transport, to “remedy the real escalation of prices” in this sector. .
This approach comes after the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has risen two tenths at the end of 2022 in relation to the previous month, but with a 1.1-point cut in its interannual rate, up to 5.7%, its lowest figure since November 2021, contrary to the trend of food prices, which shot up to 15.7%.
You want to follow the steps of the limit to masks
In this way, we can propose setting the maximum prices for the usual products of the basic basket, following the steps that the Executive already took with the masks or the Covid tests for the coronavirus crisis. Specifically, the ceiling for each of these products would be the one set on February 20, 2022 and would be in force, “at least” throughout this year, with a view to stopping the inflationary trend that has been dragging on since the invasion took place. from Russia to Ukraine.
In addition, and with a view to preventing small businesses from suffering situations of “financial stress”, intervention in the market would be accompanied by direct aid to the sector, as was also done in the pandemic with the hospitality industry. From Podemos they argue that this route would be the “most effective and fair” to guarantee food at affordable prices for families.
They propose a tax on large fortunes
In the event that the PSOE, its coalition partner, does not support this proposal, and to make it easier for an agreement to be reached as soon as possible, the purples are also open to studying a bonus for basic basket products, as was done with the fuels until they were equal to the level they were days before the war in Ukraine. And given that this second path would imply allocating public resources, we can affirm that it should be completed with two other measures. The first would be to establish an extraordinary tax on large distribution chains, similar to the one approved for banks and energy companies.
The purples already demanded this tribute in the weeks prior to the extension of the anti-crisis decree and advocated a rate of 33% on the profit margins of these companies, highlighting that this initiative had already been delegated in Portugal with good results.
Sanctions for companies that raise prices
In turn, the second complementary measure would be to establish economic sanctions for companies that take advantage of said bonus to continue raising their profits. Therefore, we can demand another new initiative to combat inflation in the face of rising food prices, as they did, for example, when they demanded an aid check for the shopping basket of between 200 and 500 euros for households with incomes of no more than at 42,000 euros per year.
However, and after negotiation within the Executive, this aid was set at 200 euros aimed at employees, self-employed or unemployed in 2022, who will have a maximum income -27,000 euros per year-, and joint assets -of 75,000 euros- depending on of living at home. Within the decree on anti-crisis measures and in terms of food, the Government abolished for six months the 4% VAT that is applied to all essential foods, including bread or milk, and reduced from 10% to 5% for oil and pasta to deal with the impact of the war in Ukraine and the rise in inflation.
However, and in accordance with this new proposal, the purple ones do not see it enough and in fact the confederal space already opined that it was not a measure that could help, as the second vice president, Yolanda Diaz, recently stated. Already with the beginning of the political course, Díaz also outlined her position to seek an agreement with the distribution to limit the prices of basic food products, which would guarantee affordable costs for citizens.
From the purple formation, the measure was described as sensible and the spokesman for Unidas Podemos, Pablo Echenique, said that he supported that idea, although he did not show much confidence that the companies would agree and defended as best via an extraordinary tax on these companies. He also said that the pricing has to be compatible with the fact that small farmers and ranchers will have their profit margins so that their activity is sustainable.
On the other hand, on Saturday the general secretary of Podemos and Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, launched one of the main proposals of the formation for the new electoral cycle, such as the use of a guaranteed income of between 700 and 1,400 euros per month. since the age of 18.