Spain outlines €20 billion of savings in budget

Social spending is the biggest casualty of Spain’s latest raft of austerity measures, announced in the budget.

As many as 43 new laws to reform the economy will be pushed through in the next six months in an effort to find €20 billion of savings, including measures to limit early retirement.

Spain’s finance minister Luis de Guindos confirmed the gap between legal and actual retirement ages will be reduced as the pension system adapts to longer life-spans.

The government will also take €3 billion from the pension reserve, with 60% of the savings expected to come from spending cuts.

Spending at government ministries is to be slashed by 12.2% in order to save €4.3 billion, while public sector wages will be frozen for a third year.

Debt servicing costs will be €38.6 billion in 2013, while tax increases will include a 20% gambling tariff.

De Guindos insists the budget measures exceed EU expectations, and added that Spain will continue to analyse the conditions of the ECB bond buying programme before making a decision on a bailout request.

Article source: The Olive Press

Spanish fishermen in Gibraltar close to netting deal

The meeting comes after months of heated disputes
The meeting comes after months of heated disputes

Spanish fishermen could be putting down nets in Gibraltar’s waters as soon as next week, following a high-level meeting with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

Picardo was equally positive about the two-hour meeting, which ends a long period of sabre-rattling between the two countries.

Describing the talks as ‘constructive’ he insisted ‘considerable progress’ had been made.

But he warned the government was still going to await the recommendations of a panel of experts set up to deal with the fishing dispute.

If the report due over the next week is positive, then fisherman could be allowed back the next day.

However, Picardo added that more data may still be required before a final decision is made later in the year.

“Only when all data and information is available will the Government make a final decision,” he said.

Regardless of the outcome, fishing legislation is likely to tightened in the waters around the Rock.

A licensing system is expected to be introduced for all types of fishing.

Article source: The Olive Press

British couple in Estepona warn fellow expats of hidden bank charges

Barclays - Robbing the public again
Barclays – Robbing the public again

A British couple are warning other expats about hidden bank charges after Barclays charged them nearly €200 to send a cheque to England.

Sue and Les Holland, from Estepona, made a cheque out in euros to a friend for €1,761.43.

But when they received their bank statement the couple, who have since closed their account, were shocked to discover they had been charged an additional €176.45.

“We queried this and they told us the English bank had returned our cheque to Barclays in Estepona, via a ‘gestion de cobro’, to ensure there was sufficient money in our account,” said Sue, from Lancashire.

“We want to know why this charge was made without any warning.

“They insisted it was just normal procedure. But the charges are extortionate. It is disgraceful.”

When the Olive Press contacted Barclays a spokeswoman informed us it was a standard charge.

“We are unable to comment on this specific case without all the information but we will look into it.

“In general the amount depends on the kind of account you have and the kind of cheque it is.

“There are a lot of ways to send money to another country, this process is more secure and for that
reason more expensive.”

Article source:

Granada town cuts ties with bank to save local homeowners from being evicted

A woman breaks down in tears after she learns she will not be evicted from her home...yet.
A woman breaks down in tears after she learns she will not be evicted from her home…yet.

Homeowners broke down in tears of relief after a Granada town cancelled all its accounts with CajaGranada in a bid to halt impending evictions.

Peligros cancelled its accounts with the bank following a campaign by the IU and Peligros Democratic Alternative parties to curb the rising number of evictions in the area.

The town hall is bogged down by its own economic struggles and has been unable to do much to help its citizens facing eviction.

But frustrations with the bank came to a head after the CajaGranada refused to negotiate with homeowners.

The town hall insisted it had expected ‘collaboration and understanding’ from banks toward families who are suffering but encountered nothing of the sort and has now cut all ties.

The town’s 11,000 inhabitants are grateful for the intervention.

For many, it means more time to make ends meet and less time on the streets.

Article source: The Olive Press

Go back to England? Not likely!

Sleep on the beach or go back?
Sleep on the beach or go back to UK?

A spate of stories in the British press suggesting a third of expats are desperate to move home appear to be wide of the mark.

A number of newspapers and an ITN documentary have claimed over the last week that hundreds of thousands are throwing in the towel, tired of mounting financial difficulties.

While bank repossessions are up and some have the feeling of being trapped by an inability to sell homes, it is easy to understand why some may want to jump ship.

What’s more, it is statistically true that last year the number of immigrants leaving Spain outnumbered those arriving for the first time in a decade.

But, according to the National Institute for Statistics, the majority leaving were Latin American and Eastern European.

And many locals are far from convinced that there is such a British exodus.

Aside from celebrated Driving Over Lemons writer Chris Stewart (see article here), in a straw poll of calls made last night to expats on the Costa del Sol, nobody could believe that figure.

“I would be amazed if it is even near 10 per cent,” said Paul O’Connell, who has lived in Mijas for over a decade.

“I am talking to loads of people every day and practically no-one says they are desperate to go.”

Estepona-based Keith Lippingwell confirmed that while some people he knew had gone back, a similar number had moved over.

Estate agent Adam Neale, from Terra Meridiana, meanwhile, insisted that it is ‘absolute rubbish’ and the figure was probably ‘less than five per cent’.

Marketing executive Charles Bamber, based in Torre del Mar, agreed: “It’s a massive exaggeration. The majority of people I know are insisting on making it work and have no intentions of going back.”

The figures are backed up coincidentally by Paul Rodwell, the British Consul in Alicante, who told the Observer earlier this year: “There is no statistical evidence of people returning home. The vast majority of them are enjoying life. People do really pursue the dream and it’s admirable that they have that get up and go.”

Expat Jo Morrison exemplifies the case. Despite falling on hard times after a proposed gym business in Nerja failed when the crisis hit in 2008, she said: “Sometimes we’ve gone without food and I still can’t believe that I don’t have my house or any savings any more,” says the 49-year-old, who now works as a cleaner and rents a one-bedroom house in Frigiliana.

“But Spain is my home now. I’d rather sleep on the beach than go back to the UK.”

Article Source: The Olive Press