Twitter Backlash Starts as Spain Banks Win Mortgage Tax Reprieve

(Bloomberg) -- Spanish banks have won a whopping legal victory, but they may pay a price in the court of public opinion.

Political Twitter exploded in outrage as the Supreme Court voted to exempt lenders from paying stamp duty on mortgages, overturning a ruling a month earlier that had said banks and not borrowers should pay the tax.

“The banks have won and the citizens have lost,” Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the anti-austerity party Podemos, tweeted. “The shame and rage should become a great civil mobilization to defend the rights of the majority against the privileges of a minority.”

Hundreds of thousands of Spanish households had potentially stood to gain from last month’s original decision. Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero said Tuesday that making banks liable for four years of back mortgage taxes could come at a cost of 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion).

“What can we expect from a ‘justice’ that’s tough on the poor and soft on and sold-out to the rich,” said Alberto Garzon, federal coordinator of the United Left party, on Twitter.

As the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said it would analyze the decision at a cabinet meeting Thursday, criticism came from all sides of the political spectrum.

The decision “is a grave error with unpredictable social consequences,” tweeted Xavier Garcia Albiol, president of the conservative opposition People’s Party in Catalonia.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.