Even if you want to move abroad to escape the economic turmoil in the UK, you may find that the country you had in mind is also not doing very well economically speaking! Take Spain for example, it has a worse unemployment problem than the UK, it is teetering on the brink of recession, and the government is being heavily criticised for the position the nation finds itself in.
Sound familiar? Yes indeed, those living in Spain are facing similar economic turmoil to us in the UK! But then…the Spanish leader is doing a little more than simply repeating the phrase: “we will do all it takes” – unlike Brown and Darling he has at least already introduced a range of measures to try and keep some momentum in the Spanish economy.
Naturally enough, given the economic climate around the world and the jittery state we are all living in, the measures are being criticised for not going far enough – but let’s look a little more closely at what the Spanish leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is doing to determine whether those who have made the move and expatriated to Spain have done the right thing!
Spain may be a nation in fiscal turmoil having sunk from being one of the most consistently strong economies in Europe to being one of the next forecast to fall into recession, but it is still a country that appeals greatly to us Britons. The climate, way of life, scenery and atmosphere in Spain all seem to have us hooked on the Spanish lifestyle. No amount of financial decline can put us off! And in part at least, some of our enduring faith in Spain is warranted because Spain’s currently government isn’t just saying it will do all it can to lead the nation out of a state of economic gloom, it is taking practical measures to boost the economy and kick start public spending.
So far Zapatero has, for example, released an ‘economic stimulus package’ which directly gave workers and retirees in Spain a tax rebate of EUR 400 each. This was money to put towards increased food and fuel bills or to spend on consumer luxuries, and the money has been a very welcome addition to families’ budgets. For first time buyers of subsidised or low-cost housing and property in Spain there have been mortgage guarantees – something certainly lacking in the UK. This has enabled those who want to get on the housing ladder the chance to make their move even though Spanish banks, like those in the UK and US, are reluctant to lend.
The construction industry, which was driving the Spanish economy forward over the past decade, is the latest industry to receive revenue boosting measures from the government. EUR 3 billion has been offered as a credit line for the now struggling construction industry in an effort to keep it afloat and keep building sites working. Elsewhere in the economy Zapatero’s government have made EUR 20 billion of funding available to ensure small and medium sized business stay afloat during these testing times.
So, even though Spain’s economy is likely to face two consecutive quarters of negative growth this year and therefore be technically in recession by the start of 2009, those living in Spain are witnessing a government’s concerted efforts to keep the economy alive whilst the wider banking and fiscal world sort their problems out. What’s more, the government is doing what it can to prevent the crisis negatively impacting on the lives of those living in Spain – we think the UK could therefore learn a thing or two from these efforts and we also think that those contemplating moving to Spain are certainly not daft to do so!