CATALONIA is on course for another run-in with the Spanish government after the Catalan Vice-President and Finance Minister, Pere Aragones, said he was considering a lawsuit over its withholding of €1.3 million (£1.1m) in regional funds.

He accused the Madrid executive of “illegally” retaining the cash which should have been transferred to the Catalan government during this year.

Aragones told MPs yesterday: “We will bring the Spanish government to the courts to pay for the 2019 advances that are ours, which correspond by law to the people of Catalonia and that they are retaining irregularly.

“We’re not asking for charity, it’s the money that we should be receiving according to the law.”

He went on to urge other autonomous authorities throughout Spain to join the legal action as the shortfall affected “all Spanish citizens”.

In addition, he said the government of Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez had still to pay Catalonia a settlement figure for VAT, which would far exceed the budget for its department of the interior.

“If we were to collect IRPF [personal income tax] and VAT, since this income … has already been paid by the citizens of Catalonia, we would not have this problem.

“Therefore, the problem is not spending, the problem is who raises: the state collects, retains incomes, not only in the Generalitat [government] de Catalunya.”

His remarks came as he announced a 6% cut in Catalan government spending, which he stressed would not affect basic services, such as education and primary health care.

Aragones said “The government will not make cuts, but will set priorities for budgetary management until the end of the year.”

Opposition parties criticised Aragones for blaming Madrid, with David Cid, from Podem, suggesting he cared more about elections than the budget.

“We are critical that the vice president did not specify the real scope and the economic volume of the cuts,” he said.

“It gives me the impression that you care more about counting seats than millions of euros.”

Maria Sirvent, from the CUP, said the cuts showed “we have a subordinate government” in Spain, and urged Aragones to disobey if he thought the deficit objective was unfair and imposed.