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More than 1,400 SMEs shout "enough" to the Spanish and Catalan fiscal measures "discriminating" against them

On Wednesday evening the main Catalan small- and medium-sized enterprises association, Pimec, organised a protest conference in which they accused the Spanish and Catalan Governments of politically and financially "discriminating" against them. With the slogan #diguemprou (#wesayenough) 1,400 owners of SMEs and self-employed workers protested against both Governments for not taking SMEs into account and only working for the interests of large corporations. The protest was explicitly backed by 220 guilds and associations, as well as by 9 professional associations and that of self-employed workers. The event issued a manifesto compiling a list of grievances, split into 7 different areas: entrepreneurship; loans and funding; taxation; labour market; energy; training and employment; and internationalisation.

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20 March 2014 04:14 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Wednesday evening the main Catalan small- and medium-sized enterprises association, Pimec, organised a protest conference in Barcelona at which they accused the Spanish and Catalan Governments of politically and financially "discriminating" against them. With the slogan #diguemprou (#wesayenough), 1,400 owners of SMEs and self-employed workers protested against the economic measures put in place by both Governments. They accused them of not taking SMEs into account and only working for the interests of large corporations. The protest was explicitly backed by 220 guilds and associations, as well as by 9 professional associations and that of self-employed workers. Participants emphasised the need to support SMEs and the self-employed, who are the ones creating most of the jobs and producing the largest share of Spanish and Catalan GDP. They insisted that many SMEs have been obliged to shut down business or are running out of breath due to this lack of support. For instance by not having enough access to loans, by paying too-high social contributions or by having to deal with some of the highest energy costs in Europe. They issued a manifesto compiling a list of grievances, split into 7 different areas: entrepreneurship; loans and funding; taxation; labour market; energy; training and employment; and internationalisation. The event was strictly economic but at the end a large number of participants start to shout slogans in favour of Catalonia's independence from Spain, gathering a loud round of applause. In a press conference held after the event, Pimec's President, Josep González, insisted that the meeting was strictly economic and criticised those who had called for independence. However, back in October 2012, Pimec made a survey among its members which showed that 66.8% of them supported independence from Spain.


Pimec's event was a desperate cry against the economic policies of both the Spanish and the Catalan Governments. At the event participants recalled that in the 7 years of economic crisis, 65,000 SMEs have shut down in Catalonia. In addition, 80,000 self-employed workers have stopped their activity and 350,000 jobs have been lost.

Participants particularly criticised political corruption, delays in paying service providers, increases in taxes and social contributions, and the treatment given to the banking sector. They criticised the fact that despite Spanish banks have received billions of public money, access to credit and loans has not increased for SMEs. Participants emphasised that funding and access to credit is essential for any company, including those in good shape. Some of these demands were included in a manifesto, which was widely approved by the more than 1,400 participants in the Diguem Prou meeting.

The Catalan Government stresses they have limited fiscal powers

On Thursday, the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, responded to Pimec's event. Puig stated that he fully understands the demands of SMEs but that, unfortunately, the Catalan Government has very limited room for manoeuvre. In a radio interview, Puig explained that the Catalan Government has been making efforts to pay providers on time, but he regretted the lack of liquidity. The Catalan Minister acknowledged the problems in paying on time and was sorry for the delays affecting companies. However, Puig insisted that the Catalan Government was dependant on the money being transferred by the Spanish Executive and that its fiscal powers were also very limited in the current legal framework.

Pimec wants to meet Rajoy and Mas

Pimec's president, Josep González, said on Thursday that the organisation he chairs wanted to meet with the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas. González insisted on the need to explain the demands of SMEs and the self-employed. Pimec would ask Mas to speed up administrative bureaucracy. The SME organisation would ask Rajoy to be consistent with the Labour Market Reform and reduce the social contributions that companies have to pay for each worker. Pimec regretted that in the last year and a half "there have been 4 significant increases of social security contributions". González said it was inexplicable to undertake a labour market reform "to make salaries more competitive", which "helps companies to export", but at the same time to increase social contributions.

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  • The #diguemprou event protested against the political and fiscal discriminations of SMEs and independent workers (by J. R. Torné)

  • The #diguemprou event protested against the political and fiscal discriminations of SMEs and independent workers (by J. R. Torné)