Spanish News September 2017

'Digital Tax' Applied To Tablets, Pen-Drives, Blank CD's and All Other Recording Equipment

Royalties for audio-visual artistes will be paid through an additional tax on technology.

Mobile telephones with recording functions will be taxed with an extra €1.10 on the purchase price, whilst USB pen-drives and external hard drives by 24 cents.

Tablets will be taxed at €3.15 at the point of sale; video, DVD, cassette and CD recorders by €5.45 and all other external recording devices by €6.45. Tablets, laptops or desktop computers will not be levied twice if they have more than one recording function.

Blank CDs, cassettes, DVDs and video tapes will attract a tax of 8-28 cents, whilst printers will be levied at €4.50-€5.25 and CD recording devices by between 33 cents and €1.86.

€18m Boost For IT Training For Young Jobseekers

Training in IT, internet and general technology for young jobseekers will be provided free thanks to a government initiative. This will up the total budget towards employment creation to €24.1m, which will benefit job-hunters in 14 of Spain's 17 autonomously-governed regions.

With today's modern job market demanding up-to-date IT and online skills, many older workers do not have the knowledge to compete and even young adults straight from school or college may have already been left behind if they have been unable to find work, given the fast-paced changes in technology and software and the growing use of social media for professional means.

Specialist IT jobs, including programme design and trouble-shooting are among those roles which, even with nearly one in five working-aged adults out of a job, are very difficult to fill and are some of the best-paid, most-exportable and offer the most flexible conditions.

Spanish Banking Tycoon Could Face Jail For 'Smuggling' Picasso Painting

Botín, 81, one-time chairman of Bankinter, vice-chair of Banco Santander and uncle of the latter's CEO for the British arm of the company, Ana Patricia Botín, bought the painting Tête d'une Jeune Femme (1906) around 40 years ago, but in 2012 had his request to transport the iconic piece to London turned down.

Botín's yacht Adix, owned by Banco Santander, with a British insignia, was impounded off the coast of Pianottoli Caldarello on Corsica on July 31st 2015 and Tête d'une Jeune Femme was seized by customs officers from France.

The painting is considered Spanish national heritage and that any 'moveable property' within this category automatically falls within State ownership it cannot be removed from Spanish territory without permission.

Botín could end up in jail for up to four years and fined up to €100m, and he is likely to forfeit ownership of the picture without compensation. The Picasso was taken to Madrid's Reina Sofía Museum, where it remains until the court case is resolved.

Lion Kept As Family Pet in Catalunya House

A Costa Brava couple keeps the lion as a pet in their back yard and it's perfectly legal, assures their local council.
The grown-up wild feline was adopted from a circus by the animal-loving pair when he was three months old and is completely domesticated, according to Mayor of Sant Jaume de Llierca (Girona), Jordi Cargol.

The couple does not have a licence to keep their unusual pet, but with Cargol's help, they have applied to the regional government and it is now just a case of waiting for the paperwork to arrive.

Simba mostly lives in a securely-fenced patio alongside the family home in the countryside, but he also wanders more or less freely into the house.

Eurozone Growth Takes Off As Recession Declared Officially Over

Now Greece is recovering and Spain's economy is growing again – albeit the job market and family finances still have a long way to catch up – economic recuperation in the 19 countries which use the common currency is on the up again at last.

Eurostat figures say year-on-year growth stands at 2.1%, with the economy increasing at 0.5% in the first quarter of 2017 and 0.6% in the second quarter.

Jobless figures in the 19 nations are said to be at their 'lowest-ever' since the continent's real nose-dive in 2009 and the International Monetary Fund (FMI) has already reported that Italy, Germany, France and Spain are doing better than they had originally believed.
The downside to this is that the European Central Bank (BCE) may now review its monetary policies, since growth has been fuelled by bond purchases and rock-bottom interest rates and low interest rates mean mortgages in the Eurozone have been at their lowest-ever in the last five or six years; a huge help to improving the health of household finance.

The ECB could begin to make major monetary policy decisions as early as this autumn, although at present inflation is too low for any drastic interest hikes. At 1.3%, it still sits way below the Eurozone target of 2% and is frequently the result of a weakened economic structure.

Spain, one of the weakest Eurozone economies during the crisis, grew 0.9% in the second quarter of 2017 as a result of higher consumer spending and increases in exports and making it one of the fastest-growing in the 19 common-currency nations. Figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) suggest Spain's economy is now back to where it was prior to the recession in 2008.

Forecasts for Spain's growth this year sit at 1.6% and it looks as though it will meet its target as exports are on the up and unemployment is down.

Spain's seasonal employment, temporary job and minimum wage-paying culture continues, meaning many of the new positions created are only three or six months long and, in a high number of cases, less than a week, with long periods on the dole in between. This is particularly the case for areas which rely heavily on summer tourism for their economy, such as the east and south coast and the islands.

EU and Eurozone growth speeds up as UK's slows down

Meanwhile, within the EU, but outside the Eurozone, UK economic growth has slackened up with the last six months having been the weakest in five years.

Although the British service sector grew by 0.5%; the only element that fuelled any growth at all, the manufacturing industry has shrunk by 0.4% and that of construction by 0.9%.

The GDP as a whole only increased by 0.3% in the second quarter of 2017, albeit this was up on the first quarter's 0.2%, but per capita, GDP growth was just 0.1% or, once changes in population had been taken into account, only a third of the gross figure.

Whilst the European Union's and the Eurozone's economies are showing fast growth and picking up strength, the UK is showing a reverse trend. GDP has continued to grow for the last 18 quarters, but this growth is now well below that of Europe and less than a third of that of Spain.

The Overall Picture For 2017 Is Grim

This is largely due to falling investment, reduced consumer spending through austerity and wage stagnation and a falling pound sterling which, although it has encouraged exports, means UK imports, which far exceed exports, are now more expensive.