Does it hurt yet?
Update 21 November: Unemployment, evictions, social exclusion … all are being blamed for an horrendous new effect of the crisis: families handing over their children into temporary care in order to avoid losing them altogether. The legal term is guarda , what we would call custody, where the child effectively becomes a ward of Court. Between 2009 and 2011, 237 children were placed in guarda, of whom 77 were handed over last year, 70 in 2010. Every attempt is made, it seems, for children to be placed in foster families or care homes near the parents, and of the 77 from 2011, 56 remained in the same municipality. Numbers are awaited with trepidation for 2012, but already the consejera de Cultura, Deportes, Políticas Sociales y Vivienda, Inés Rojas, has announced the start of a campaign to encourage people to put themselves forward as foster families.
Update 4 October: I posted yesterday about the loss of the first free half hour’s parking at our airports, and now there’s more bad news for the island’s motorists. As of midnight last night, petrol and diesel will go up 1.2 and 2 cents a litre respectively because of a Canarian Government decree, dormant since 1994, allowing each island to impose an insular surcharge on fuel. The money will go on Tenerife’s roads, says the Cabildo. Whatever. Does it hurt yet? It’s beginning to pinch, surely?
Update 20 July: 19 July did indeed turn out to be “a day of protests” throughout Spain, and the Canaries were no exception. Around 70,000 protesters from a range of sectors turned out through the islands to support the national protest called by the CCOO and UGT against the Government’s austerity measures and cuts. In Tenerife alone some 30,000 protesters marched from Plaza Weyler to Plaza de la Candelaria in Santa Cruz, bringing the city to a standstill.
Update 15 July: As part of the publication of the recently-announced austerity measures published in the BOE, unemployment benefit will be unavailable to those who have “sufficient means”. The PM announced that unemployment benefit was going to be reduced after the first six months “to encourage the unemployed to look harder for work”, but he didn’t actually mention this, which has come as a complete surprise. Quite how “sufficient” is to be defined is unclear.
Update 12 July: Unions have announced that 19 July will be the day of protests throughout Spain against yesterday’s announcement of the latest austerity measures. “Civil society”, including cultural and social organizations, has been called to join the workers’ demonstrations to produce a massive protest against the Government’s measures. The Unions say that that over the coming months, moreover, they will be consulting with the public about what they call “an authentic political fraud” by a Government passing measures that were not presented at the election, and warned of the “dangerous road” being taken, which they see as increasingly authoritarian and undemocratic.
Update 6.30pm: The Canarian Government will not be putting IGIC up further despite the rise of VAT (IVA) on the mainland, said the consejero de Economía y Hacienda, Javier González Ortiz, who added that the regional Government had already made the necessary adjustments for the reduction in budgetary funding from Madrid.
Update 6pm: Unions CCOO and UGT have announced general protests at the new measures. They will update as to when the strikes will take place, but say they will be before the end of the month.
Original post 11 July 10am: At least in the Canaries we have IGIC rather than IVA. Spanish VAT has been put up to 21% for the mainland this morning as PM Rajoy announces the reforms that reflect the real cost for Spain of its EU bailout. So, the increase in Spanish VAT won’t have an immediately direct effect on our pockets, but of course much is imported from the mainland and prices are bound to go up here as a result.
Other measures announced, too, will affect people greatly here. One such is the reduction of unemployment benefit after the first six months in order “to encourage the unemployed to look harder for work”. Great if there are jobs around, of course, but not much use if there aren’t. The PM seemed to consider it was commendable that the Government had not reduced the maximum 2 years allowed for “paro”.
Other changes announced include the abolition of tax relief for “habitual residence”, considerable numbers of lay-offs in the public service sector, the abolition of public sector workers’ Christmas bonus, and “indirect taxes” on energy to go up. The total tax rises and spending cuts in this round of austerity measures – and this is still far from the end of them over the next year or several – are meant to save €65 billion, some 6.5% of the GDP. They said it would be painful, and the unemployed will perhaps be hurt more immediately than most, but this is affecting many now.