No More Subsidized Liquor for Spanish MPs
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Members of Parliament in economically-troubled Spain will no longer get a cheaper deal on happy hour cocktails. In response to public outrage, discounted liquor—part paid for by public funds—will be taken off the menu at bars and restaurants at the Spanish Parliament, a commission has ruled unanimously. Beer, wine, and coffee will continue to be sold at a discount. The scandal emerged last week when it was reported that prices at the Parliament's nine restaurants were as low as half of what neighboring establishments charge. Politicians could enjoy a gin and tonic for €3.45 ($4.54) which is half of its cost at a regular bar. Spain's suffering economy has forced the government to raise taxes and cut public spending on schools and hospitals to stabilize the budget, and the recent liquor scandal has only added more fuel to Spaniards' discontent with the government. "There's no money for school lunches, but there is for gin," wrote Maite Estrada Salvador in a letter to El Pais last week. Spanish politicians are considered one of the country's "four worst problems," along with the economy, unemployment, and general corruption and fraud, according to a recent poll. Another survey shows their disapproval rating at 93%. "[This scandal] makes citizens upset, and they are right, so the leadership has decided to change it," says Alfonso Alonso, leader of the ruling People's Party in Parliament.