Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Crisis

Here in Spain unemployment is a serious problem and the benefit system is no real safety net as in UK. The Spanish media reports that jobless numbers are falling but as usual statistics without any back up information do not tell the whole story. Aside from the "on the black" workers, those working outside the system, if figures are put together using the official lists of who is signing on as unemployed the numbers will be hopelessly out. Living in this area full time with a daughter who lives in the heart of the spanish community the picture is very grim indeed. Many peoples benefit rights have run out or they just do not bother to go through the process knowing there is little or nothing in term of cash at the end of it. With a history of managing without help for those in power families pull together and somehow survive. Food is shared with family and friends, meals cooked together to save fuel. The older generation indeed anyone who was alive during the Franco era truly know what hardship is and are facing this latest crisis with a resilience that we can only admire. Not whingeing because a comfortable lifestyle is taking a bit of a hit, but trying to keep body and soul alive from an already basic standard of living that slips further down as the recession continues. Admirable yes, but I feel it should not be necessary in a modern day european country. The Government here are said to be looking at reform, lets hope its a rapid process. All this said there are also expats who have tried there very best to make a life here working hard and paying there dues. Not knowing the system or having a complete grasp of the language makes getting help even more complicated. It is good to see the English language press trying to help with this, in particular the Costa Blanca News has published an article which explains the Benefits system for those who need to apply. You can email for this article if you cannot get the paper. Check out this link to contact the paper.

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