Puigdemont denies pro-independence process provokes company drain in Catalonia
Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, responded this Thursday to those who claim that the pro-independence process is provoking “company drain” in Catalonia and assured that this is “false”. During the presentation of Catalonia’s Economic Report at the Chamber of Commerce, Puigdemont pointed out that 815 companies moved their tax base in 2015, which represents 0.32% of the total of companies with salaried employees and 14% less than in 2014. He also explained that Madrid lost 1,035 companies’ tax addresses last year, 0.5% of the overall number of companies in this Autonomous Community. Thus, Puigdemont lamented that some try “to spread the rumour” of an economic reality in Catalonia which “doesn’t help to create an atmosphere of confidence”, but which on the other hand “foreign investors do have”.
Barcelona (CNA).- It is “false” that the pro-independence process is provoking a “company drain” in Catalonia. This is what Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, stated this Thursday during the presentation of Catalonia’s Economic Report, at the Chamber of Commerce. According to this document, 815 companies in Catalonia moved their tax base in 2015, which represents 0.32% of the total and 14% less than in 2014. He also explained that 1,035 companies which had been resident in Madrid relocated their fiscal headquarters outside that Autonomous Community, representing 0.5% of the total. Puigdemont lamented that those who claim that companies are increasingly leaving Catalonia due to its political process try to “to spread the rumour” of an economic reality which “doesn’t help to create an atmosphere of confidence”. An atmosphere which, on the other hand, “foreign investors and most of the companies in Catalonia do have”, he said.
Puigdemont also noted that Catalonia obtained better figures than Madrid in other areas such as foreign investment, exports, tourism, occupation and public finances. This proves that the Catalan economy “is doing its task”, as the Economic Report reflects.
He also criticised that the Spanish State increased its expenditure by 4.2% during the worst years of the economic crisis while it urged Catalonia and other administrations to make “efforts” and reduce their levels of spending. Indeed, he emphasised, Catalonia reduced its public spending by 13.7%. “A great and tough effort has been demanded from the people and the Catalan Government, which manages basic services such as education, health and social services, while the Spanish State didn’t fulfilled its agreements, especially those regarding the funding system, which has been out of date for two years and a half” he lamented.
Economic growth higher than the Eurozone average
Catalonia’s Economic Report shows that the Catalan economy grew by 3.3% during 2015, according to data released by the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE), which is more than two times the average growth of the Eurozone (1.6%). Moreover, Catalonia is amongst the Autonomous Communities within the Spanish State which registered the most dynamic economic growth.
The report also points out that Catalonia hit new records in 2015 in relation to exports, number of exporter companies, foreign investment and international tourism attraction. The document concludes that Catalonia has gained presence in international trade due to the improvement of its companies’ competitiveness.
Regarding the labour market, in 2015 the industrial sector instead of the services led the job creation and was responsible for the creation of 46,800 new jobs, half of the total created in Catalonia in 2015. However, the report emphasised that creating quality jobs and reducing the unemployment rate are still two of the main challenges for the Catalan economy.
Record figures in foreign investment
During the first half of 2015, Catalonia attracted 1.959 billion euros, which represents a remarkable increase of 281.2% in comparison to the same period the previous year, when investment amounted to 515 million euros. During the first trimester of 2015, Catalonia was the leading region in Continental Western Europe in terms of investment, both in total amount of investment attracted and jobs generated. The growth registered in Catalonia is much higher than the Spanish average; foreign investment in Spain in the second trimester of 2015 was only 73% higher than that recorded during the same period 2014.