MADRID, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday that a tax increase was "inevitable" in order to respond to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with Spanish TV network La Sexta, Sanchez said that in order to meet the objectives of reducing the deficit and public debt, his government would need to increase taxes that would affect large corporations and high earners. There would also be environmental taxes, he said, pointing out the need to strengthen Spain's public health service and the welfare state.
"We cannot have a public health system as extraordinary as the one we have, and the one we want to have ... with income similar to that of countries that have a privatized health system," explained Sanchez.
"We want a robust social state and we have to do it with fiscal policy," he said, adding that the "most important thing is fiscal justice, so that no one is left behind."
He acknowledged that the coronavirus crisis has had an "unprecedented" economic and social impact not only in Spain but around the world and that forecasts for a drop in gross domestic product (GDP) were "painful, complex and very worrying."
Sanchez's remarks came as the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Spain rose by 5,107 to 3,862,883 in June, according to figures published by the Ministry of Labor, Migrations and Social Security on Thursday.
June's figures show that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employment is easing and there are hopeful signs as the number of people out of work fell in all sectors apart from agriculture, where 27,319 jobs were lost with the end of the spring fruit picking campaign.
The number of unemployed people decreased by 27,319 in the service sector as shops began to slowly reopen after the coronavirus lockdown. Furthermore, July should see the creation of more short-term positions in the service sector as Spain's tourist destinations are finally beginning to reopen to domestic and international tourists.
The number of people out of work fell by 15,927 in the construction sector and by 7,770 in industry as a further sign of economic revival.
While the number of people registered as unemployed has risen by 5,107, the number of those affiliated to the Spanish social security system went up by 68,208.
Meanwhile, 1.17 million people returned to full-time work in June after being on the ERTA temporary employment regulation scheme. ERTE is a government mechanism in which the state pays around 70 percent of a worker's wages in order to enable companies to stay afloat in crisis.