They can’t always get what they want

It seems to me that whilst The Rolling Stones are getting satisfaction after 50 years of hard slog, Eurozone ministers are finding after a considerably less period of time “they can’t always get what they want” and the crisis rumbles on.

With the recently discussed bailout for Spain of around 100 billion euros and the immediately agreed 30 billion euros to help restore confidence in the Spanish banking system hopes were strong for the euro. However as we know nothing is free in life and Spain has had to reassure the EU that they can raise additional revenue so they increased VAT from 18% to 21% and of course further spending cuts are on the cards. With long term bond yields suffering in both Spain and Italy and the threat of Greece seeking new terms for their bailout confidence unfortunately in the zone is at the moment very low.

The UK cannot escape concern particularly with the LIBOR scandal still ongoing and the launch of the Funding for banks, it now remains to be seen if the banks will pass on this money to its clients and in doing so at what rate! One piece of good news for the UK however was the UK trade balance was lifted by exports and the trade deficit fell for the first time in 4 months.

The rest of the world also has many concerns, pace of growth in China and lets not forget the US where weaker global growth is starting to take its toll, watch out this week for results from many of the multi nationals, poor results could open up a can of worms.

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Spain in the news – Olympics, fraudsters and Ryanair

Last week I ran a short article covering some of the main stories from around Spain and it seemed to be quite popular so here is another! Spain is in the news because…

Spanish snub Olympics

After the useless system of allocation drew derision from most people in the UK outrage is once again on the cards as thousands of tickets went on sale after Spain admitted it could not sell its allocation.

Tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies, the men’s 100 metres and other high-demand events are now available, but to all EU residents.

Many Brits hoped that the unwanted tickets would be returned to the Olympics committee to sell on to British spectators. But the decision to make them available across the EU is likely to infuriate ticketless Britons who think they should be first in line, and believe the allocation process was unfair from the start.

Why didn’t they sell in Spain? The Spanish are a sporting nation aren’t they?

Fraudster Michael Brown in Spain for extradition

fraudster Michael Brown
Convicted fraudster Michael Brown

Convicted fraudster Michael Brown could remain in Spain for up to six months while the authorities organise his extradition hearing and any appeals presented.

“We’re not likely to see him for six to nine months if he contests the extradition,” said Nigel Richardson, a solicitor who has previously handled the extradition of a British drug suspect from Spain.

Even if the fraudster agrees to the extradition, it could still take a number of weeks to arrange.

“They’ll have an initial hearing and he will indicate if he consents to be deported or not. If yes, the authorities have 21 days to remove him,” Richardson explained.

Glasgow-born Brown, 46, posed as a bond dealer claiming connections with royalty, embezzling an estimated £36m from clients. A former chairman of Manchester United lost £8m to the criminal who lived under the name “Darren Nally” in the Dominican Republic after fleeing the UK in 2008. He was arrested in January after an international manhunt was launched. Police are still hunting for about £18m.

Ryanair to pass on charges to passengers

Ryanair
Ryanair will pass on charges

Ryanair passengers heading to Spain for the summer could be forced to pay additional charges to board their flight, even though they have already paid for their tickets.

As part of Spain’s attempts to increase revenue across the board airport landing fees are facing an increase, which Ryanair says it will not be able to absorb and must pass it on to the passengers.

The budget airline, the leading carrier between the UK and Spain, has notified customers of the possible charge, giving them the option to cancel their flights if they wish.

Although the airline is not breaking the law by passing on the charge they are not likely to be popular with travellers, especially as British Airways have announced that they will absorb the increase.

UK – ‘worst quality of life in Europe’

The latest uSwitch quality of life index shows the UK has been named the worst place to live in Europe for quality of life.

Britons have 5.5 fewer days holiday a year than the European average and a lower than average government spend on education. Briton is fourth in Europe for average household income

The UK was also shown to have the second lowest hours of sunshine per year, the fourth highest retirement age, and the third lowest spend on health as a percentage of GDP.

The UK’s high cost of living was also a factor, with food and fuel prices the highest in Europe. Unleaded petrol, alcohol and cigarettes all cost more in the UK than the European average.

As a result, more than one in 10 Britons (12%) said they are “seriously considering” emigrating, with “broken society” stated as the biggest concern for 59% of those questioned, followed by the cost of living (49%), crime and violence (47%).

A mere 5% of those questioned are happy in the UK.

France came first in the chart for the third year running, despite families earning an average  £6,000 less than Britons and working longer hours. However the French enjoy 2,124 hours of sunshine per year, an average retirement age of 60, and receive 36 days of holiday a year. The French also live a year longer than Brits, with an average life expectancy of 81.4 years compared to 80.4 in the UK. People in France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden can all expect to live longer than people in the UK.

Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany followed France in the top five best European countries for quality of life, with Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Ireland also scoring higher than the UK.

Full story: The Guardian

 

Spanish parliament dissolved 4 months early

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has dissolved the Spanish parliament in preparation for a general election in November.

The Prime Minister signed a decree dissolving the parliament and informed King Juan Carlos.

It is thought that the opposition Popular Party will lead a new government following the election which is penned in for November 20th.

Zapatero said in July that he would not run for re-election after eight years in power.

Zapatero’s party lost much of it’s traditional support base due to their unpopular austerity measures and the opposition has gained a record lead, according to opinion polls.

Zapatero told reporters he was confident in future saying “I know that sooner rather than later we will overcome the current difficulties,”

Second Quarter Figures Show 22% Increase in Sales

Latest figures released last week by the central Government show 90,746 property sales in Spain in the second quarter of 2011.

Many real-estate analysts and agents say it is overseas buyers that seem to be driving the market forward.

Mark Stucklin, founder of spanishpropertyinsight.com, said “Economic and political uncertainty, with unemployment over 20 per cent and general elections in November, are making Spaniards wary about buying primary residencies, let alone holiday homes and much hope is being pinned on foreign buyers coming to the rescue.”

Among the provinces Malaga has the second highest figure for sales to foreigners with 1,110 homes sold to overseas buyers in Quarter 2. Alicante registered the highest number of sales to foreigners.

Estate agent Jeanette Wilson said “Cash-rich buyers, especially those looking to buy at the top end of the market, are able to purchase properties 35 to 40% cheaper than they were three years ago. I’d say if you can afford to buy now you should as it’s thought prices will start to creep up again soon.”

In a survey carried out by ‘A Place in the Sun’ magazine last year, more than 60% of potential British buyers would consider Spain proving that Spain is still a favourite destination for Britons.

Steve Dibden, a Brit who recently bought a Spanish property said “My friends and I were holding fire and have been watching prices steadily come down since 2008, but now, thanks to the property crash, we’ve been able to afford a pad that previously would’ve been a serious stretch for us. Many people in our situation are now thinking that the time is right to look for a property in Spain. In real terms, prices are at an all time low in many areas so it’s the ideal time to go for it.”

Deal Reached to Legalise Property in Mijas

The Junta and the Ayuntamiento have reached a deal that could see properties legalised within eight months.

The agreement represents a huge step forward in a conflict that has lasted for years. Approximately 8,000 properties were built irregularly or illegally in the Mijas area alone.

The deal was announced on Friday by Manuel Navarro, the local councillor for town planning. He explained the deal to the spokespeople from the three main opposition groups.

An inventory of all irregular properties will now be carried out. This time it will be done far more comprehensively than that which was done by the previous governing team in the town.

The agreement means that the PGOU can be modified in part to legalise illegal or irregular properties. Navarro claims that this proposal will be confirmed after meeting the Delegate for Territorial Ordination in Málaga, Enrique Benítez.

The town planning councillor said that Mijas is leading the way in regularising homes. ‘It may take longer, possibly, but we guarantee to solve this urgent social problem which is one of the main concerns in our municipality’, said Navarro. The process could take between eight and ten months.

Spanish Government Bringing Back Wealth Tax

At a meeting of the Council of Ministers this Friday, 16th September, the Spanish Government plan to reintroduce the Wealth Tax, which was abandoned in 2008.

Speaking at a rally in the Jaime Vera de Galapagar Institute in Madrid on Sunday, the socialist candidate for president, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, asked the prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to “reactivate immediately” the “tax on large estates”, a measure which also appears in Rubalcaba’s election manifesto.

Moreover, according to sources close to the candidate, he has requested that the minimum at which tax is payable be raised significantly, thus only taxing the wealthy and not the middle class as was the case previously before the tax was abolished.

Rubalcaba pointed out that the benefits of this decision would be seen in 2012 and “the new government in power would be able to use them. If you give me the opportunity to decide in 2012 what to do with it, I will invest it in youth employment,” he explained.

More on this story

TINSA August House Prices Report Released

Tinsa has released house prices figures for August. You can download the report here.

The General IMIE index fell again in August to 1748 points, a year-on-year decline of 6.8%, continuing the trend of the last three months. The cumulative decline from the top of the market in December 2007 is now 23.5%.

This situation was also reflected in the market’s various segments, although “Capital and Major Cities” recorded a sharper year-on-year decline of 7.8%, followed by the “Mediterranean Coast” with 7.1%.

In the remaining areas, the decline in house prices was below the national average. In the “Metropolitan Areas” the year-on-year decline was 5.8%; in the “Balearic and Canary Islands” it was 4.9%; while the “Rest of Municipalities” it was 6.4%.

The cumulative declines to August from the top of the market, by area, were: “Mediterranean Coast” 29.2%, “Capital and Major Cities” 25.6%, “Metropolitan Areas” 23.4%, “Balearic and Canary Islands” 21.1%, and the “Rest of Municipalities” 20.4%.

TINSA Press Release

Wild Fire in Mijas

A wild fire in Mijas which started on Sunday, has now become the worst wildfire Malaga has seen this year.

Approximately 100 hectares of vegetation have so far been destroyed by the fire although some estimates go as high as 200 hectares. The fire which is still burning out of control has led to over 300 people being evacuated from their homes and parts of the AP-7 motorway, which passes Mijas, have been cut off for safety reasons.

The Town hall has suggested, but not confirmed, that the fire could have been started deliberately.

The fire was first noticed on Sunday evening, around 20.30, in an area known as ‘Fuente de la Teja’. Fire fighters were sent immediately to the affected area but despite the rapid response the fire spread quickly to other areas helped by strong winds. Local people were evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure.

Efforts to extinguish the fire have included help from fire fighters from Fuengirola, Coín, Vélez, Torremolinos, Marbella and Alhaurín and fire engines from Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada and Sevilla have been sent to the area. This morning it is expected that planes will be used to drop water on areas affected by the fire which cannot be reached by fire fighters on the ground.

It was hoped that the fire would be under control by Monday morning but strong winds during the early hours have reactivated the fire which is now it is heading towards Calahonda, in Mijas, and Las Chapas, in Marbella.