These are five things I believe can and should be done to the benefit of the island.
Knock down the illegal half-built buildings all over the island
There are hundreds of them, in every municipality. Sitting there with their breeze blocks slowly decaying. Work has been stopped on them as they were started illegally. Just bull doze them and clear the land.
Apply planning laws fairly
Why do some people end up taking down illegal pergolas or small extensions, while others seem to get away with building massive structures and even creating dwellings on rustic land? Planning laws are good, but only if they are applied fairly across the board.
Get rid of protectionist and asinine laws
Some tour companies have been fined for collecting clients from their hotels, some private individuals for picking friends up at the airport. Other people were fined for driving whilst wearing flip flops! These laws, and many others, are either plain daft or seeking to protect a monopoly. They have no place in a modern democracy, repeal them.
Make it easy to start and run a business
There are so many hoops to go through to legally start a business in Spain, and it’s expensive. It stifles the entrepreneurial spirit at best, and at worst it fuels the black economy, where people do it anyway and pay no tax. Let’s make licensing a new business easy and cheap.
Make it easier to hire and easier to fire staff
Taking on staff legally costs a fortune in social security payments – that’s why so many are paid in cash and end up with no rights. But on the other side of the coin it’s extremely hard to fire people once they have an indefinido contract, however they perform in their jobs. Let’s have a “low start” social security payment for the first two years with an employee, and yes, it should be easy and cheap to fire them if they aren’t any good at what they’ve been hired to do.
Spain in general is suffering economically. The business culture and the application of laws focus too much to the benefit of established, large organisations and to protecting their existing businesses. That focus should shift onto the vibrant culture of entrepreneurialism that exists in the country. It’s time to knock down the barriers to starting a business, to get rid of the constant fear that they might be fined for breaking some obscure law, and to start to apply fair rules on every business and individual, equally.
Which politician is going to be the first to include these in a manifesto and actually deliver on the promise?