Catalonia calls for tax moratorium for companies affected by Covid-19 measures

Vice president Pere Aragonès considers it “essential” that businesses be given financial break in letter to Spanish president

Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès (by Gemma Aleman)
Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès (by Gemma Aleman) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 17, 2020 12:06 PM

Pere Aragonès, the vice president of Catalonia acting as interim president ahead of the impending election, has asked the Spanish president Pedro Sánchez for a tax break for businesses affected by the new Covid-19 measures

Among the newly implemented restrictions are the full closure of bars and restaurants, although they are still allowed to serve for takeaway and delivery, while other businesses that involve physical contact are also forced to shut, excluding hairdressers.

Other restrictions include reduced capacities in shops, gyms, and cultural activities. 

Aragonès believes a moratorium on VAT, corporation tax and social security contributions is “essential”, emphasising that “necessary measures” must be taken to prevent solvent companies from having to close completely due to the actions taken to halt the spread of the virus.

"It would not make any sense" for the state to continue collecting taxes "normally" when many companies can not operate regularly due to the measures, the acting president considers, also calling for quick action from Sánchez. 

In addition, the ERC politician also wants moratoriums on payment of loans and basic supplies for the affected companies. 

Industry figures outraged

Speaking at a protest against the new measures closing bars and restaurants, Roger Pallarols of the Restaurant Guild expressed "outrage" within the sector and the government's decision and called for more "reasonable" measures, lamenting the fact that the 9,000 restaurateurs in Barcelona will lose income but still have outgoings. He expects 80,000 workers to face temporary unemployment.

The Catalan executive has promised funds of €40m for businesses affected, but this won't be enough to cover losses, according to the Restaurant Guild, Barcelona Commerce, and employers' organizations Foment and Pimec.

The Secretary-General of the employers' organization Pimec, Antoni Cañete, claimed the impact of the measures will be €780 million. "The €40m announced represents 5.1% of the losses," he said.

With 210,000 workers directly affected and 810,000 people indirectly, Cañete called on the government for direct aid, citing the situation in France, where €10,000 has been granted to establishments with less than twenty workers.