Archive for Costa del Sol

The Pensioner Parasites Of Britain

Posted in Benefits, Britain, England, Equality, Health, Human Rights, News, Old Age Pensioner, Spain, UK with tags , , , , on 17/11/2013 by floroy1942

There are times when I am ashamed of my fellow countrymen, and a report out this week has highlighted well-off pensioners who are raking in the money at the expense of their counterparts who are dying of cold every winter in the UK.

cartoonI refer to those pensioners who have enough money to spend the cold winter months in sunny Spain and the South of France, and still insist on claiming their UK heating allowance.

I am sure most, if not all, know that many old folks back home often have to choose between eating and staying warm, and every winter there are those poor souls who die from either the lack of proper nutrition or the cold. Sadly, these greedy individuals are not moved one iota by this fact, and continue to claim their allowance “because they are entitled to it”.

Winter On The Costa - Not An Overcoat To Be Seen

Winter On The Costa – Not An Overcoat To Be Seen

Many thousands spend most of the winter here on the Costa del Sol where the daytime temperature rarely drops below 14 degrees, unlike the UK, for there much of the winter it is almost always below five degrees and very often in the minus, especially at night. It is a sad fact that many UK old folks die alone in their homes in winter because they have not been able to keep warm.

The government did what it could to help by providing the Heating Allowance for pensioners, but unfortunately they did not add proper limits so that only the poor and needy were entitled. According to the government webpage on heating allowance you are entitled if:

  • you were born on or before 5 January 1952 (for winter 2013 to 2014 – this date changes every year)

  • you normally live in the UK throughout the week of 16 to 22 September 2013

You may still be able to get the payment if you live in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland and you have a genuine link with the UK.

You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit).

The Benefit Of Heating Allowance

The Benefit Of Heating Allowance

I could claim this allowance because I live in a European country, am over sixty-five and have a genuine link to the UK, but I don’t because my conscience would not allow me too. Why is there a clause in the rules that allows people not living in the UK to receive such an allowance? This rule should be scrapped.

In my opinion, anyone spending the winter outside the UK, and certainly with an apartment or villa in Spain or the South of France, has no need of such payments. But unfortunately, people these days are greedy and think only of themselves and don’t give a hoot for anyone else.

Most people see it as a free handout from the government that they gladly accept and do not care that the really needy old folk die from cold. Perhaps these parasites should be given a guided tour of these poor people and see first hand their living conditions and feel for themselves the cold days and nights.

Cold, Hungry And Alone

Cold, Hungry And Alone

It is also a sad fact these days that many people do not think about taking proper care of the parents who gave them life, and leave them to die alone in the old family home. Some pensioners are lucky if their children visit briefly even once a year, others may get a visit once a month, but in most cases it is more important to have the family holiday in Mallorca  than to ensure the parents have a warm home to live in throughout the winter.

Winter Home On The Costa

Winter Home On The Costa

According to the report, a total of £21 million was handed out to pensioners who spend the winter in the warmer climes of Europe. Of this amount, £9 million went to pensioners basking in the sun in Spain, and another £5.1 million went to those living in France. Pensioners seeing through the winter as far away as Greece received in total £351,000 in heating payments.

According to the official figures, 119,587 pensioners living in the European Economic Area received payments in 2012-2013, a rise of 60 per cent on 2011-2012. These figures do not include those pensioners spending the winter in the UK. A drastic rise when you consider that in 2002 to 2003 only 8,090 people were paid this benefit. This coming winter may well see many more deaths among the old when you consider the major rises in energy prices passed on by the electricity and gas companies to the consumer.

If Attitudes Don't Change This Could Be You!

If Attitudes Don’t Change This Could Be You!

It is a terrible thing to sit in your own home and be unable to keep yourself warm in winter, and even more so to freeze to death. We are supposed to be a civilized people so how can we allow this to happen. Those who can afford to go abroad for the winter should have all payments stopped immediately. The millions that are saved would be enough to give all pensioners in the UK a warm house in which to see through winter without starving themselves to get it. That should be sufficient incentive for any government to change the rules.

Roy.

 

Cameron Makes The Right Decision On Child Benefit

Posted in Benefits, Britain, Budget Cuts, Children, Conservative Party, David Cameron, England, Government Spending, Immigrants, Parenting, UK with tags , , on 10/01/2013 by floroy1942

here are going to be a lot of upset people in the UK at this particular moment as they face losing part of their income in the form of Children’s Allowance. David Cameron and his coalition partners have decided to remove part of this benefit for couples earning over £50,000 a year, and to cease paying it altogether where one parent earns over £60,000 a year.

Welcome To The UK Benefits System

Welcome To The UK Benefits System

I am glad that we finally have a government that is willing to do something about a scandal that has perpetuated for so long in Britain. Its time people recognize the fact that “Benefits” were introduced to help the less fortunate among us, i.e. those that could not afford to put food on the table or clothe their children properly! It was not intended as a free government handout to those who can support themselves adequately as many seem to think these days.

The scandalous way in which people lie and cheat to get benefits they either are not, or should not be entitled to these days is nothing short of a national disgrace.

Costa Sunset

Costa Sunset

Let me give you an example: Here on the Costa del Sol in Spain it is currently 18*C, and yet there are thousands of Brits who travel down here for the winter and still claim their Cold Weather Allowance. When asked about this they say, “Well! I am entitled to it!” While these parasites are getting their ill-begotten payouts there are thousands of pensioners at home in the UK who must choose between food on the table or warmth because they cannot afford both.  To me that doesn’t make sense.

The entire benefits system has been creaking under the strain ever since Tony Blair and his gang of crooks started handing our money like confetti to his immigrant chums. Regardless of what anyone might say to the contrary, the benefits budget has got to be brought under control so the money can be given to those who really need it, and not the parasites that are sucking the lifeblood from the system.

Immigration Rate

Immigration Rate

Why should a family on a good sustainable income be paid by the state for each child when they don’t really need it, financially speaking? Its disgraceful, but all you ever hear is, “I’m entitled to it!”

Sky Diving Disability Cheat

Sky Diving Disability Cheat

Another area that I would like to see the government cracking down on is the disability benefit scam. There are tens of thousands of people in the UK who are scamming the system by getting benefits for a ‘disability that prevents them from working’. In the past I have known cheats who have never done an honest days work in their entire lives because they have a ‘disability’ and get paid for sitting in the pub all day long. Cases have come to court of people on holiday in Spain or elsewhere having a high old time when they are supposed to be wheelchair bound.

We do hear on occasion that ‘so-and-so’ has been caught by government inspectors and prosecuted, but they are far too few, even though the number has risen since Labour were kicked out of power at the last election. The government need to hire more inspectors and catch them all.

Lastly, and probably the most popular measure among the British people, we need to see a curtailment of benefits to immigrants who are living in our country at tax payers expense.

Come One - Come All

Come One – Come All

As we all know to our cost, it starts with the husband, followed by the wife and children and then the parents, grandparents, in-laws, uncles and aunts and so on until the UK tax payer is supporting a family of twenty or more from a single entry.

They are all are living the ‘Life of Riley’ in large houses, fed, watered and pampered by our benefits system so they can demonstrate on the streets about ‘Islam Will Rule the World” and “Sharia Law in Britain”. At the same time, there are tens of thousands of our own people who are literally struggling to survive. The amount of money spent on immigrants is one of the greatest scandals of our time.

The Prime Minister On The Andrew Marr Show

The Prime Minister On The Andrew Marr Show

If I have any criticism of what the government is doing, it is that the system devised is far too complicated and will itself cost money. This business of paying more tax if you are ‘over the limit’ etc. is in my view the wrong approach. It appears to me that the simplest method would be to just reduce or stop the payments where applicable. That way we don’t need another tax department or the general public having to fill out yet more forms. Mind you, I may be over simplifying the problem, I am after all, not an expert in the field.

All that aside, I stand firmly behind David Cameron and Nick Clegg in their drive to cut expenditure on the benefits budget, but I sincerely hope this is only the beginning.

Roy.

Can Trade Unions Strangle A Country? – Yes They Can!

Posted in Budget Cuts, Europe, Government, Insanity, Modern World, Spain with tags , , , , , on 30/10/2012 by floroy1942

My wife and I have a penthouse in a residential community in Marbella on the Costa del Sol in Spain, and it wasn’t until today that I realized how labour laws are strangling the country. My wife is president of the community and responsible for the day to day running of it along with her three-man committee. We have a concierge who is causing many problems by not doing his job properly, spreading rumours and has on occasion been abusive to residents. In an effort to make him more efficient he has been given a work schedule with specific tasks at specific times, but he still seems to think he can do as he pleases and for the most part ignores it. Under these circumstances you would think the simple solution would be to fire him and get someone new: Wrong! This is Spain!

Today my wife and the committee sought advice from an official labour advisor who told them he cannot be fired unless we can prove gross negligence. Such is the state of the labour laws in Spain that it is almost impossible to get rid of a lazy or useless worker – there is literally nothing you can do! The only way to rid ourselves of the man is to pay him a huge sum of money in compensation. As you can imagine, this is not really a viable option in these troubles times.

Some of the contractors that used to do jobs around the community have proven to be sloppy, inefficient and lazy which is symptomatic of many. Needless to say, they do not work here anymore.

This whole business started me thinking and examining the state of the country in light of these laws. Spain has been in the doldrums ever since the housing market collapsed and the country had sunk further into debt year by year, and as I have said previously, the biggest problem is inefficiency. Although the current prime minister Rahoy is strenuously refusing a bailout from the EU, the situation is dire. The country has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe and with the recent increase in purchase tax, prices are going through the roof.

When you visit some governmental or local offices it is customary to find chaos, rudeness from staff, and a total lack of cooperation, plus you have to get used to waiting for long periods to be helped. At this point I must make it clear this is not a ‘blanket statement’ because there are exceptions to every rule. The local council offices (ayuntamiento) in Marbella were very quick and efficient when we visited last week, but compared to that, the labour offices in the city are a complete disaster.

The bottom line really is that in this country, if you have an inefficient, or lazy worker there is little you can do to get rid of them. The labour laws have made it almost impossible to replace someone who just isn’t good enough. It seems that provided you turn up for work and manage to shuffle a few papers around your desk every so often you cannot be fired.

I tried doing some research into the Spanish labour laws but the waters are very muddy and its almost impossible to get any real information, but one thing that is certain, like in many other countries, they evolved from trade union pressure on the government.

There is nothing more motivating for a worker than to know he can be fired if he doesn’t do his job properly, but to get that far, there has to be a major shift in government policy regarding the labour laws before the country will be able to get back to its collective feet. One thing is certain, whichever government takes on this task will find the mob outside the gates in lynching mood.

Roy.

An English Residents View of Spain’s Economic Woes

Posted in Britain, Budget Cuts, England, Europe, Government Spending, Spain, UK with tags , , , , on 31/12/2011 by floroy1942

Just about the whole world knows Spain has major economic problems at the moment, which makes it no different from the rest of Europe. Each country has its own reasons for the current state of its economy, Greece because it fiddled the books, Portugal and Italy because they  just spent too much etc etc. the list goes on. As someone who has lived in Spain for four years, I believe Spain’s problems are caused by something other than just spending too much.

Spain's GDP Takes a Nosedive

I freely admit I am no economy expert, but judge things more on what I see from day to day – the nitty-gritty analysis I leave up to the experts. As someone who has observed life in Spain from the sidelines as it were, in my opinion, most of the problems in this country are caused by three main things; 1. An ineffective government, 2. major corruption and 3. massive inefficiency.

Zapatero - What Could I Have Done Better? - Everything!

Under Zapatero’s government it seemed as though they were not interested in governing and solving the countries problems, just sitting in their ivory towers in Madrid and talking, which is something the Spanish are very good at. Ask someone on the street the time, and you end up in a half-hour one-sided conversation. They love the sound of their own voices!

Rajoy - A New Broom - Let's Hope So!

In just about all respects, the Zapatero government were a waste of space. Whether the new guy on the block Rajoy will be any better we must wait and see. But whoever is in charge, Spain needs a governing body that will be seen to actively tackle the root problems, and most important, keep the public informed on how and why!

Marbella Council Members In Court For Corruption

Spain’s second major problem has been around since the seventies, and that is corruption. Here in Marbella practically the entire local council was arrested a few years ago for massive corruption running into hundreds of millions of euro’s since 1991. This went all the way from the mayor down through city hall. Many of the corrupt officials are now in prison but the courts are still trying to track down the massive amounts of money that were siphoned off, and they are not getting very far.

Highly Dangerous A7 Between Marbella and Fuengirola

The results of the fraud can be seen everywhere in Marbella in rundown buildings, broken road surfaces and a generally poor infrastructure. The effects of this have been far reaching, for example, the street lights along a twenty kilometer stretch of the most dangerous motorway in southern Spain (A7 E340) have recently been switched off because two local councils don’t want to be the ones having to pay for the electricity.

The Shrinking Beaches

Every year beach sand is washed out into the Med but has for some time not been replaced because of cost. This means in effect that beaches along some stretches of coast between Marbella and Fuengirola are shrinking to the extent there is not much left when the tide is in. Eventually this will have a major impact on tourism, which lets face it, is Spain’s bread and butter for it doesn’t have any heavy industry apart from the building trade. Its only other real source of income is the agriculture sector.

An Unfinished Dream Home

The building trade, which has flourished ever since it began in the 1960’s suddenly died in 2008 due mainly to the banking crisis and the collapse of the mortgage market. This whole stretch of coast is marked by half-completed buildings that may never be finished.

 

Living on a Hillside

Realising back in the 60’s that tourism was a major winner, they have over the years built on almost every patch of open ground capable of taking a block of apartments or a villa (plus some that are not) and it has proven a major money winner for the country.

Demolishing Someone's 'Illegal' Dream Home

The Marbella council members made much of their illicit money in kickbacks for allowing builders to flout the existing building laws, and so currently, many people who bought their dream villa or apartment and moved lock, stock, and barrel to the Costa have had their home torn down because they were built illegally. This has happened to many over the past three years and even pensioners have been left on the pavement with their furniture. Now things are being handled in a more humane way and many such places will eventually be made legal. The builders guilty of the corrupt practices have of course pocketed the money and are long gone.

The sad thing is, the Spanish government did nothing to curb all these excesses, and the massive criminality associated with the building trade. Some people living in England put down vast sums of money to have a Spanish company build them a villa on the Costa, only to find all the ‘progress reports’ were lies when they come across to see their dream home and found it either as foundations only or perhaps a couple of walls. The builder of course was long gone with his ill-gotten gains. My own sister had a villa built and the local building company couldn’t even follow the plans for many rooms were the wrong size! This building fraud much like the Time Share fraud of old has been completely ignored by the government and the police, because let’s face it, it only happens to foreigners! 

Local Police - Car Bound

Another interesting factor is the police are only interested in ‘high profile’ crime. Spain’s traffic and local police are next to useless, preferring to sit on their fat asses in their patrol cars rather than fight  everyday crime like beggars and traffic violations which is one of the reasons Spain has the highest annual mortality rates for road accidents (35,000) in Europe. But gross inefficiency is not limited to  the police, its everywhere.

An Expensive Accident

My wife and I had occasion to go the the Marbella Justice building a couple of years ago, and when we entered the office there where about five people lounging at desks. One eventually came over and asked what we wanted. We gave them the paper we had received and the man tried to find the file relating to our business. Every table, cabinet and available floor space was covered with half-a-metre deep piles of files as if it was a repository for waste paper. After searching for about fifteen minutes the man came back and said the person dealing with our situation was on holiday and could we come back the following week because he could not find the file – no surprise there! The idea of a proper filing system seemed beyond the entire department. When dealing with the local council in some cases you get bounced from one department to another, and these are spread about in buildings all over town instead being together in just one. 

Latin American Call Centre - About as Far Removed From Reality as You Can Get

Dealing with Spanish companies like Vodafone or the electricity company is a nightmare due to inefficiency. You have to call a certain number to get someone to deal with your query or complaint and you end up talking to someone in South America who has no idea what you are talking about. If you start getting frustrated they turn abusive as has happened with my wife when calling Vodafone. When our internet dropped my wife was on the phone for almost two hours!!!

In all good faith, I cannot ‘paint everyone here with the same brush’ for there are many Spaniards who are kind, courteous, and do what they can to help within the rotten system, but generally speaking, Spain needs to inject a huge amount of efficiency into the day to day running of the country from top to bottom. The police need to get off their backsides and do the job they are paid to do by sorting out the corruption and fraud which is endemic here. The government needs to start governing properly and let the people know that it is doing so, otherwise little will change in the forseeable future.  

Happy New Year Everyone

I sincerely hope that the new government can come to grips with all the root problems here and get the economy back on track, for it is a pleasant place to live, and of course the weather is divine. This will be the last entry for 2011  and outside it’s 20*C with wall-to-wall sunshine. Just the way we like it!

Have a wonderful New Year and may your blog audience grow beyond your wildest dreams.

Roy.                           

 

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