Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine
Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors
Jun, 2023 |
The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.
Canary Islands Expect Rain and Potential Storm Weather Next Week
Jun, 2023 |
The Canary Islands are preparing for a change in the weather next week, as a significant increase in cloud is expected bringing higher probability of rain. The effects of a powerful storm forming in the Atlantic Ocean are likely to extend to the Canary Islands as well as neighbouring Madeira and The Azores.
The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 2-4 June 2023
Jun, 2023 |
June is here and that means that summer is just around the corner. The Patron Saints’ festivities in honour of San Juan de Bautista and San Antonio de Padua are just getting started on Gran Canaria, and in Pueblo de Mogán the main Romería pilgrimage for San Antonio El Chico is this first Saturday of June, as well as the start of the build up to those in Arucas, Santa Brígida and Moya. This weekend also brings the biggest outlet fair shopping experience back to INFECAR and a collectables fair in Gáldar.
OPERATION KILO is this weekend, at all participating supermarkets, asking you to add a few non-perishable food items to the Food Bank collection boxes to help families in need.
Vox Enters Canarian Politics, Stage Right: Anti-Migrant, Anti-Feminist, Anti-Green, Anti-Autonomy, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Multiculturalism, Pro-Franco politics find a foothold on The Canary Islands
May, 2023 |
The Canary Islands were unable to avoid the rise of the far right on Sunday, unlike in 2019, writes Natalia G. Vargas in Canarias Ahora. Vox, which previously had no representation on the islands, managed to make its presence felt in several municipalities and councils this May 28. They also secured seats in the Canary Islands’ regional parliament, securing four deputies. “Defending what is ours, our own, and fighting against insecurity” were the slogans that underpinned Vox’s campaign in The Canary Islands, along with “family, employment, and freedom.” This rhetoric, coupled with an electoral program that was repeated across all local elections in Spain, proved sufficient. Dozens of cities and towns on the islands welcomed their first far right candidates of the modern democratic era into Canarian politics, with urban areas serving as their main strongholds.
La Alcaldesa Bueno Secures Incredible Majority in Mogán
May, 2023 |
Mogán, May 29, 2023 – The often controversial incumbent, O Bueno, La Alcaldesa, has achieved an unprecedented and resounding victory once more in Mogán. The candidate who switched her party’s name, for these elections, to “Juntos por Mogán”, a local ally of the regionalist conservatives “Coalición Canaria” (CC), will once again assume the role of mayor. Her party has clinched a rather noteworthy 17 out of the 21 seats in the Municipal Council of this popular tourism destination located on the sunny southwest of Gran Canaria.
Contributions increase for Spanish self-employed workers despite losing €60 billion due to pandemic
Dec, 2020 | Business, Economy, employment, Health
The Association of self-employed workers (La Federación Nacional de Trabajadores Autónomos, ATA) has complained about the rise in the Social Security contributions rate for 2020, which was applied from October after having been postponed back when the pandemic began.
“The Ministry has been insensitive to the self-employed”, the president of ATA, Lorenzo Amor, declared this Monday saying that the rate hike applied “has punished 3.2 million self-employed.”
Amor stressed that “now is not the time to carry out quota increases as a result of a pact agreed in 2018, when the economy was growing at 3% and when it was impossible to foresee that it would currently be falling by 12%. Freelancers don’t deserve this treatment”.
Social Security sources have explained that this rise in the contribution rates of the special regime for self-employed workers (RETA) was contemplated in an agreement reached between the Government and self-employed organisations back in 2018.
By virtue of this pact, which established greater protection for this group pending a reform of the RETA, the contribution rate was progressively raised over four years, from 30% in 2019 to 31% in 2022.
Last October there was an increase in contribution rates of three tenths, going from 0.7% to 0.8% for any cessation of activity and from 0.9% to 1.1% for professional contingencies, adding to the existing contingencies rate (28.3%) this has raised the total contribution rate to 30.3%.
According to the Ministry for Social Security, this rise represents an increase of €3 per month for most self-employed people, while, according to the ATA, it will raise the quota paid by the self-employed in September by between €6 and €24.
To this will be added, over the next few months, the rise corresponding to 2021, with the rate of contribution for cessation of activity rising one tenth, to 0.9%, and the professional contingencies rate by 0,2%, to 1.3%, reaching a total applicable rate of 30.6%.
There is a Government RETA reform on the table to charge self-employed people Social Security on the basis of their actual income, being negotiated with the social agents, but opinion among the self-employed seems quite divided.
ATA say that, according to their members’ barometer data, 43.9% of self-employed respondents are in favour of contributing based on real income and 35.9% are against the move, while 20.2% do not know or have not responded.
28.8% declare having suffered losses of more than € 30,000
With less than a month till Christmas, and night curfews in place across much of Spain, with lock down confinements, regional closures and considerable restrictions on hotels, leisure and commerce, the ATA barometer responses are a reflection of the extremely complicated situation that self employed people are going through this year. The self-employed have lost an estimated €60 billion so far throughout the pandemic. 28.8% of the self-employed people surveyed by ATA state that they have suffered losses of more than €30,000.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL BAROMETER HERE (In Spanish)
SITUATION OF YOUR BUSINESS CURRENTLY
Given the uncertainty the ATA are working to explore the real situation of self-employed workers and their activities at a time when practically every regional autonomous community in Spain have implemented restrictive measures on activities that directly affect the self-employed, such as hospitality and trade.
Currently, say the association, three out of four freelancers have some kind of restrictions on their business. Around 20% of the more than 2,000 self-employed members who were surveyed, 19.3% specifically, have their businesses and/or activities completely closed at the moment, which, according to the ATA, could be extrapolated to almost 620,000 self-employed people throughout Spain. 4.1% of respondents claim to have been closed for business since last March. (Table 1). 56.5% say they have opened for business, but that they are working at 50% capacity.
Only 15.7% of the self-employed surveyed by ATA say that they are open and functioning normally and 3% even admit that they are doing even better than before the pandemic.
The results point to (table 2) an overwhelming 84.9% of self-employed people having seen a reduction in their turnover compared to the previous year and for half of them, the fall has been more than 60% (graph 2). 9.7% say that turnover has been maintained and 3.2% say that their turnover has increased despite everything.
The estimated loss for the self-employed in 2020 could stand at more than €60 billion. 28.8% of those surveyed say that their losses will exceed 30,000€, (Table 14) mainly in the events industry, entertainment (children ‘s entertainment, nightclubs, cultural and and other show) and to a lesser extent, the commerce sector.
11.1% of the self-employed who responded say they have made no losses this year.
The Canary News
Economists warning it could take Canary Islands five years to return to how things were before COVID
Sep, 2020 | #TheCanaryCoronaVirus, #Tourism0, Business, Economy, Government, politics
Simply put, we have a long road to travel in The Canary Islands. Anyone hanging on to the hope of the repercussions of 2020 being short term may wish to readjust and start to work on not simply how they might return to how things were before, but also how they are going to deal with the sustained economic impacts of low tourism, high unemployment and difficulties in generating income. We can get through this, but perhaps not all of us will. Economists are warning that we have not even reached the bottom of the decline, and until we do we won’t really know what is needed to get us back on our feet.
We need to look to each other, and be able to count on each other, for support, and we need to help who we can to try to ensure we do not start to witness the worst ravages of extreme poverty within our communities growing in number and negative consequences. 2020 is not a year for the faint of heart, nor likely will next year or the year after. These are tumultuous times, only level heads and careful direct action will help us to recover any semblance of the life we knew before, perhaps this is even a much needed opportunity for The Canary Islands to reinvent itself as something more than just mass tourism, all inclusive beach resorts, and stack-em and pack-em package deals. We are going to need to focus not only on ourselves, but how we treat others, and how the world sees us. We need each other’s cooperation and good will now, more than ever. Good luck. Who is it we want to be? There are no easy answers, but we are blessed to be riding out a global pandemic in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Let’s see what we can do to shape the odds and improve our chances of a steady return to good health and a bright future.
Miguel Ángel Sánchez Martín, dean of the College of Economists in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, this weekend warned “We have not hit bottom, and until we hit bottom we will not know with certainty which keys to play.” He was describing the magnitude of the challenge ahead of us, in his expert opinion, that the Canary Islands face. Despite the extremely hard blow that the coronavirus has dealt to the regional economy, there are many months still to come where GDP will continue to fall.
How Long? Economists are warning of the need to think carefully
Sánchez Martín thinks that if part of the winter tourist season can be saved, the Archipelago’s economy will start to bottom out before the end of the year; if not, the free fall will continue for at least another six months, that is to say until at least mid-2021. Until the Islands have hit rock bottom, we can’t start to look at real sustainable recovery, how serious the problem is cannot be truly understood before that.
Short and medium-term scenarios depend on one factor above any other: whether or not Spain and the Canary Islands are capable of controlling the outbreaks of Covid-19.
If the region manages to control infections, Germany and the United Kingdom will agree to remove the Archipelago from their black lists of territories to which they advise against traveling due to the risk of contracting the disease. If this happens, “we will regain some activity”, he told La Provincia, similar to what happened after the end of the state of emergency, but in no case would we return quickly to 100% activity, far from it.
José Miguel González is another one of the economists warning of the need for prudence and pragmatism, a Consulting Director for the company Corporación 5 and former Employment Director General for the Canary Islands Government, says that the fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be at least 25% even when foreign tourists begin to arrive, hopefully, towards the end of the year. It would at least provide some breathing room. If the islands do not manage to control the number of cases of coronavirus and cannot provide health guarantees to countries of origin, that send tourists, then we will continue to suffer worse and worse consequences. So if we cannot revive, at least in part, our tourism industry, our main engine for the regional economy, it would be as much as saying that we have not been able to get control of the coronavirus outbreaks, and so economists are warning that we would likely find ourselves in double danger, with a crashing economy and uncontrolled infections.
European Aid is Expected
Europe has promised to send financial aid, which many hope will arrive before October, but it is not clear when it can be expected
According to González the fundamental supports holding the current situation together are questions around whether the public administration, the governments, will continue to maintain current levels of economic aid or not. Should Spain’s job retention “furlough” scheme, the temporary employment regulation files (ERTEs) continue due to force majeure? Will soft credit lines continue? Can moratoriums on the payment of taxes and fees be maintained? … In short, whether or not the State, the Regional Autonomous Community, Island Cabildos and local municipal town councils have or do not have enough muscle to continue financing these inordinate increases in public spending.
It is true that Spain is going to receive €72.5 billion in non-refundable funds from Europe, aid that Spain will not have to repay, so as to alleviate the worst consequences of the pandemic on society and the economy, but it is equally true that only a part, €12.4 billion, is intended to deal with the blow in the short term. The rest is linked to the implementation of reforms and investment plans for economic transformation and growth, so the autonomies will have to present projects to gain access to any part of the rest of the money.
The Canary Islands aspires to bag somewhere in the region of €3.57 billion, slightly more than €2 billion of it between 2021 and 2023, but at the moment this is still only an aspiration. Money will arrive from Brussels, but there are two large unknowns to be resolved: when it will arrive and how much will arrive. Until then, state funds are essential, and for this the approval of new general budgets will be vital. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez still does not have sufficient support to be able to assure these budgets are passed. In short, the state and regional treasury will not be able give much more assistance until the money from Europe can be used, and for this it is necessary to approve the budgets beforehand. Be that as it may, the double scenario is clear: without tourism but maintaining current aid levels, GDP would continue to fall by 25%; without tourism and without the current volume of aid, the fall could already reach 35% or more.
“In this last scenario, not even the companies that wanted to maintain employment could do so; it would be an invitation… [for many businesses] …to file voluntary bankruptcy ”, advises Gonzalez.
Full recovery of tourism will likely take twice as long as the decline lasts
Though economists are warning of the need to tread carefully now they agree that eventually the economic situation will improve, of course, but however we manage it we will not see the way out of the crisis “for three, four or five years,” says Sánchez Martín. Experts consulted by La Provincia seem to agree on this: either a V-shaped recovery (in which recovery is as fast and as intense as the depressive phase) or even a U-shaped recovery (where between the depression and recovery phases there is a plateau period) will not happen any time soon. On the contrary, for us to get past the coronavirus crisis, that is, to return the GDP of around €47 billion a year with which The Canary Islands closed 2019, we will have to be planning in terms of five years or longer.
The Canary News