Tag: GOV.uk

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Centre-Right Pact Between Regionalists (CC) And Resident Conservatives (PPAV) Returns Marco Aurelio Perez As Southern Mayor

The conservative Partido Popular-Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) and the right of centre regionalist Coalición Canaria (CC) have this Thursday signed a local government pact that will shape the future of the southern Gran Canaria tourism municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The alliance, dubbed a “Pact for Stability and Socioeconomic Progress of San Bartolomé Tirajana”, represents 60% of the votes cast in the municipality’s recent local elections, emphasised the  mayor-elect, Marco Aurelio Pérez (PP-AV), who returns for the third time to lead the local council responsible for some of the most important tourism areas on the island, including Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and San Agustín.



Local Government Coalition Agreement Maspalomas and the South of Gran Canaria

A governing coalition pact has been finalised in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The Popular Party–Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) conservative residents party is to join forces with regionalist centre-right Coalición Canaria (CC) to govern the main tourist municipality on Gran Canaria for the next four years. Marco Aurelio Pérez will serve as mayor for the entire four-year term, and the Popular Party will take charge of Employment, Sports, Roads and Infrastructure, and Human Resources, among other areas. The regionalists, led by Alejandro Marichal, will oversee Urban Planning, Economy and Finance, and Tourism as their main departments.



Storm Óscar Latest: Government of the Canary Islands Declares Rain Alert for Western Islands and Gran Canaria

A storm system, dubbed Óscar, has formed over the last few days over the mid-north Atlantic, unusual for this time of year, and has led to concern from meteorologists and journalists as it passes south of the Azores, its tail should reach The Canary Islands, before the system heads northeast towards mainland Spain.  Advisory warnings have been issued in expectation of heavy rainfall, primarily in the Western Isles of the Canary Islands Archipelago, though some rainfall is also expected to reach Gran Canaria over the next couple of days.  It seems unlikely that any major consequences will stem from the bad weather, however these things can be unpredictable and so every precaution is taken to ensure people are informed and kept safe.



Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors

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

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.




Canaries face prospect of empty beaches for Springtime as UK confirms non-essential international travel ban

As the new Covid-19 strain spreads in United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson this Monday announced his roadmap out of the pandemic restrictions including a total ban on non-essential international travel both from and to the country until at least May 17 2021.  Though this may have put a hole in any hopes for a quick return to tourism for The Canary Islands, leaving empty beaches for springtime, it does at least offer a sense of certainty for when we might expect British holiday makers to start to return.  Nevertheless, on these small sub-tropical islands off the coast of Africa, survival often is success and an eye is often cast out across our many horizons for opportunities to turn our environment to our advantage.



Empty beaches for springtime
Brits hoping for any sort of get away to enjoy our empty beaches for springtime, or around easter, had been hopeful of positive data allowing them out of lockdowns and travel restrictions within the next few weeks, however Downing Street made clear that the UK was not willing to take any more risks when it comes to unnecessary journeys in and out of the country. The global travel and aviation sectors have been among the hardest-hit during the pandemic, and in few countries more so than the United Kingdom. The new outright ban comes following fears over data that suggests new Covid-19 strains have been spreading across the country.

Editor’s comment:The Canary Islands received upwards of 5 million British annual visitors over recent years, with more than a million and a half of those choosing Gran Canaria, but now there is certainty of empty beaches for springtime.  The tourism and hospitality sector in the archipelago represents more than 35% of GDP employs more than 40% of the workforce, which in turn feeds nearly 60% of the island population. The decline income and capital losses experienced over the last year of the pandemic in the region have already been shown to be dropping at twice the national average, with the regional economy having shrunk by more than 20% in the last 3 quarters.
Local businesses have struggled with meagre support from the Regional and National Governments, with many self-employed feeling completely abandoned, with contributions still being taken despite a total lack of earnings in most cases, and employees totally reliant on the ERTE (Spanish furlough scheme) to try to make ends meet.  As businesses go under so more and more of the workforce are turning to look for government assistance, and that is foreseeably going to become more and more difficult to administrate under Spain’s already beleaguered Social Security system, creaking under the weight of an aging population and a total lack of reforms for more than a decade. Rental assistance for many has been near impossible to access, meaning ever increasing numbers of people could be facing a housing time-bomb as landlords, also desperate for income, chase growing debts from a population unable to earn a wage.
Spain’s progressive coalition Government, under Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, had barely managed to establish their socialist agenda before this pandemic redrew the rules of engagement, derailing extraordinary plans to ensure Minimum Vital Income for every citizen, who fell below a certain threshold of earnings, in an environment now which is likely to lead to hugh swaithes of the tourism workforce being completely without income for months, and with the reignition of Spain’s tourism industry wholly dependent on origin markets such as the UK, Germany and to a lesser extend other Northern European economies.
For The Canary Islands this latest blow will be painful, however it does at least give us something to aim towards beyond empty beaches for springtime.  In mainland Spain a campaign to Save Our Summer began just two weeks ago, urging the UK Prime Minister to set forward a road map which would allow for summer bookings to start once again.  Here in The Canaries we are blessed with year-round sunshine and a vibrant winter tourism season too, so many business owners now will be weighing up the costs involved in chasing uncertain Summer revenues, as opposed to keeping their powder dry to aim towards a safer and less competitive Winter Holiday Season.
Back in London, PM Boris Johnson said on Monday that domestic overnight stays and self-contained accommodation will be allowed to operate again no earlier than 12 April but non-essential international travel will remain out of the question.
Highlighting his new, long awaited, road map out of lockdown, Johnson said, “This is part of the roadmap’s second step and it will take place at least five weeks after the first step” referring to the 8 March date set for a return to schools, part of his conservative government’s four-step plan, but pointed out that these steps could be postponed if the prime minister or his advisers deem it necessary.
He said the earliest date that international holidays could be allowed would not be before 17 May.
The UK government’s Global Travel Taskforce is set to reconvene by 12 April, and issue a report recommending how they think international trips might resume safely, he said.
Boris Johnson told journalists that this will “give people time to make their plans for the summer”
Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee responded to the news by saying “As the worst-hit economic sector in 2020, this will ensure we will also be the worst-hit sector of 2021”
“The UK and devolved governments must set out sector-specific support to help ensure there are viable airports to be able to restart,” Dee added, saying that the Prime Minister’s recognition of aviation’s important economic role, in particular for businesses that rely on access to international markets or visitors to the UK, was welcome.
British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said it is “critical we start looking at a way to restart travel”, and added that he is “pleased the government has acknowledged that”
“We support a data-led approach that protects public health. We want to work with the government’s task force on a road map now to ensure that aviation is in a strong position to support the UK as we emerge from the pandemic.” concluded Doyle

Interval between stages
For the UK there will be an interval of at least five weeks between each of the stages of the plan (except the first, which is divided into two steps) to allow the impact of the changes in infection rates and hospital admissions to be assessed. The key dates are as follows:
– Starting March 8: All schools will open and extracurricular activities and sports will be allowed in the open air . Likewise, recreation will be allowed in public outdoor spaces and there will be a green light for up to two people to sit down for a coffee, a drink or a picnic.
– As of March 29:  up to six people or two different households can meet outdoors. Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis or basketball courts, will reopen and organised sports for adults and children, such as grassroots football, will also return. High school students will be able to access tests and will be required to wear a face mask in classrooms and in shared spaces such as hallways.
– As of April 12: the reopening of many sectors of the economy is planned. Non-essential retail businesses, hair salons, and some public buildings such as libraries will be back in business. Leisure activities will be allowed once again in indoor facilities such as swimming pools or gyms. One of the great novelties is that Brits will be able to travel independently to establishments with kitchens or camping sites. For trips abroad, we will have to wait until this date for the plan developed by Johnson’s Travel Taskforce.
– Starting May 17: Goodbye to the ‘rule of six’ for outdoor gatherings which will, it is expected, be significantly increased up to 30 people. Residents of two different households will be able to mix inside and cinemas, museums, hotels, theatres and sporting events will all reopen. Football stadiums will be allowed to accommodate up to 10,000 spectators, while weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes will be limited to 30 people.
– As of June 21: if the situation allows it, limits on social contact will end . Nightclubs will be able to reopen and Downing Street hopes to eliminate restrictions on the numbers attending weddings and funerals.
Confidence for spring and summer
Boris said the goal was to be “cautious, but irreversible. At each stage, decisions will be based on data, not dates. There is a credible route to a Britain without COVID and a world without COVID”.
Likewise, the wild haired British leader put on display his confidence that the situation will be very different in spring and summer: “They will be seasons of hope, of looking and feeling incomparably better for all of us.” he concluded.


The Canary News

End of Transition Period Q&A for UK Nationals living in Spain

Information correct as at 29 December 2020.



What happens if I am not registered as resident by 31 December?
If you are unable to complete the registration process before 1 January, you will still be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, as long as you were legally living in Spain before the end of 2020.
That means that you were living here and meeting the EU free movement conditions of working, being self-employed, or having sufficient income and comprehensive healthcare cover to support you during your retirement or studies.
Your rights come from your living legally in Spain before 31 December, not from possessing the residency card itself. We recommend you have as much documentation in place to demonstrate that you were legally living here before the end of the Transition Period as possible. That might include, but not be limited to, a padrón certificate, utility bill, healthcare policy, work contract or flight ticket.
If you are having difficulties with your residency application, there are three organisations, who have received funding to support UK Nationals with this, so please do contact them for help.
What should I do if I can’t get an appointment?
COVID restrictions have meant that there are fewer appointments available in some areas, but you should keep trying. You should also remember that you can complete the first stage of the residency process by submitting your documents electronically if you have a digital certificate.You can find out how to get your digital certificate here: https://www.sede.fnmt.gob.es/en/certificados/persona-fisica. If you do not have a digital certificate you can also use a third-party representative to submit your documents for you.
Meanwhile, you should make sure you have as much documentation in place to demonstrate that you were legally living here before the end of the Transition Period as possible. That might include, but not be limited to, a padrón certificate, utility bill, healthcare policy, work contract or flight ticket.
Is my green certificate still valid or does it need to be exchanged for a TIE?
The green residency certificate – both A4 and credit card-sized – remain valid documents to demonstrate your status as a resident and your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.The Spanish Government emphasises that the biometric TIE is more durable and may simplify some administrative processes and border crossing. If you decide to exchange your green certificate for the TIE, there is no deadline for doing so. See https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/brexit/howtoprepare/Paginas/190108residence.aspx
Will I still be able to access healthcare in Spain?
People who have settled in the UK or EU before 31 December 2020, will continue to have life-long reciprocal healthcare rights provided they remain covered under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. That means if you live in Spain or moved there before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare in Spain will stay the same for as long as you remain resident. Visit gov.uk/healthcareinspain for more information.
Is my EHIC valid after 31 December?
A new EHIC has been developed for those eligible under the Withdrawal Agreement to protect the existing healthcare rights of people living, working and studying in the EU prior to the end of the transition period.Residents who have a registered S1 form and students will need to get the new UK-issued EHIC which will be valid from when they receive it and for travel from 1 January 2021. They can apply on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-ehic-european-health-insurance-card/
The Withdrawal Agreement also protects UK and EU nationals who find themselves in a ‘cross-border situation’ over 31 December 2020 (for example, someone whose holiday begins before but ended after the 31 December 2020). These people will be able to continue to access ‘needs-arising treatment’ until they leave that country by travelling to another EU MS or returning to the UK. If treatment is needed people will need to contact NHS BSA (https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/contact-us) for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) which shows that they are entitled to treatment in the EU. They may need to provide evidence that they travelled to the Member State before 31 December 2020 and did not leave the country before they required treatment.
The Government always advises that anyone travelling overseas, whether to the EU or elsewhere in the world, should take out comprehensive travel insurance. This remains our advice.UK residents visiting Spain should visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-for-uk-nationals-visiting-spain for the latest information.
Can I still exchange my driving licence from 1 January?
All valid UK driving licences will be recognised for driving in Spain until 30 June 2021. We have consistently advised UK nationals to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one. As long as you registered the details of your licence with the Spanish traffic office and the licence was verified by 30 December 2020, you have until 30 June 2021 to complete the exchange.
If you were not able to start the process before 30 December you should sign up to email alerts on gov.uk/livinginspain to be informed of the latest developments on the future exchange of driving licences. In the meantime, you can use your valid UK licence until 30 June 2021.
If you have exchanged your UK licence for a Spanish one you will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the UK. If you move to live in the UK, you can exchange your UK licence without having to take a test.
Can I continue to claim my pension in Spain?
If you are legally living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#pensions
I have a second home in Spain. Can I still come and stay there in the same way?
UK business visitors and tourists will still be able to travel to the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period. From 1 January you will require permission from Spain for any stay longer than that and this may require applying for a visa or permit. You should contact the Consulate General in the UK for further information. This will limit the time you can spend in your property, but your property rights will not change.
Can I still travel back to the UK with my dog?
There will be no change to the current health preparations or documents for pets entering Great Britain from the EU from 1 January 2021.From 1 January 2021 onwards, the UK will have Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, meaning that people travelling from England, Wales or Scotland with their pets and assistance dogs will need to follow new requirements in order to travel to Spain.
For further information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-from-1-january-2021, where you will also find contact details for the pet travel hotline.
Will there be changes at the border when I come into Spain? Do I need to do anything differently?
If you live in Spain, you should always travel with both your valid passport and proof of your residence status (TIE or green EU residence certificate). From 1 January, UK Nationals will not be able to use the passport lanes for EU/EEA/EFTA/Swiss citizens and should use the lanes for Third Country Nationals (TCNs).
The COVID situation is evolving and travel restrictions can change quickly, so you should sign up for alerts to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain, so that you are kept up to date with the latest information.
Can students continue their studies in Spain?
UK nationals who are resident in Spain by the end of the transition period will continue to be treated on an equal basis to Spanish students in terms of eligibility for student support if they wish to go to a Spanish university, even if that is after the end of the transition period. UK nationals who move to Spain to study a full degree from 1 January 2021 must apply for the relevant visa before travelling and may have to pay the fees applicable to non-EU citizens.
Are there any changes to mobile phone roaming?
If you have a UK mobile phone, you should be aware that there may be new roaming charges from 1 January 2021. You should check with your provider for details.

Where can I find more information?
For the latest information on living in Spain, including on residency, driving and pensions visit gov.uk/livinginspainFor the latest information on healthcare visit gov.uk/healthcareinspainFor the latest travel advice for Spain visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spainYou can also keep up to date through our Facebook channel www.facebook.com/britsinspain.


The Canary News

£3 million grant to help UK nationals in the EU prepare for Brexit

UK Government announces £3 million grant to help UK nationals in the EU prepare for Brexit
UK nationals who may struggle to complete their residency applications will be helped by measures announced by the UK Government. Up to £3 million is being provided for organisations who will inform UK nationals who live in EU member states including Spain, about the need to register as resident and support them as they complete their applications. The Government wants to support those who may find it harder to complete all the paperwork – focusing in particular on pensioners or disabled people, those living in remote areas or with mobility difficulties, and those needing assistance with language translation or interpretation.
British Consul Charmaine Arbouin said: “The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October and we want to help UK nationals living in Spain to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances. This funding will ensure people get the support they need to protect their residency rights and access to services.”
Organisations working with people who might be affected and who might require additional support can apply for project funding from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from 19 September at gov.uk/fco. The fund’s programme team, based in London, will be running a series of webinars to provide bidders with a fuller understanding of the fund and an opportunity to ask questions on the bidding process. Interested organisations can find further detail at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/3-million-grant-to-help-uk-nationals-in-eu-for-brexit. Organisations can also contact their nearest consulate for an initial conversation.
Individuals wanting to access support with their residency applications will be able to contact those organisations who are successful in their bid, once the funding has been awarded. We will provide details of the providers for Spain in due course. Meanwhile, UK nationals living in Spain should continue to prioritise registering as a resident by 31 October.
Advice on residency for UK nationals living in Spain can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/living-in-spain


The Canary Guide

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Contact us by email on Publicidad@TheCanary.TV for more information
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