Local Daily News 1st January

The Partido Popular approves the Baraka skyscrapers in Torrevieja and Dolón, ensuring that they will have 30% hotel use

Grupo Baraka has freedom from yesterday to present the urbanization project and request a license from the City Council to raise its two 82-meter-tall towers and forever transform the urban landscape of Torrevieja and put an end to the emblematic image of the Doña Sinforosa garden next to the beach and the medieval canal of the Acequión. The absolute majority of the Partido Popular (PP) endorsed with the reports in favour of the municipal urban services and against the Ministry of Ecological Transition (Costas) the definitive approval of the detailed study. The mayor defended his support for the project against the avalanche of criticism that this real estate initiative has unleashed on the left – PSOE, Los Verdes and Sueña – but also from an important sector of the residents of Torrevieja. The councillors of Cs and Vox could not attend the session.

Dolón recalled that the processing of the plan – a regulated process on urban land that a city council cannot deny a developer – was initiated by the previous left-wing government. Specifically, José Manuel Dolón (Los Verdes), Dolón “the bad guy” in the words of the PP. Then the councillor pointed out that in the strategic environmental assessment approved by the previous mandate and endorsed by the former mayor of urban planning by Fanny Serrano (PSOE) Baraka integrated the park of Doña Sinforosa in a resort. While yesterday’s detailed study preserves, according to Dolón, the garden. From an urban point of view, these are two phases of the project that cannot be compared.

He said Baraka, whose marketing continues to promise “ocean views from the first floor”, will have to preserve the “listed” trees – pines and eucalyptus trees that are taller than six stories in some cases. And he insisted that apart from Baraka’s promotion to sell 230 tourist apartments, not to mention hotel use, the modification of the PGOU that allows high-rise construction requires 30% of that hotel reservation in exchange. And that is the urbanization project, which comes next, where the company must assume that commitment. And if it does not do so, the mayor assured, it will deny the license to the group led by the controversial businessman Trinitario Casanova. He also reiterated that the Costas report against the project is not binding.

The provincial Coastal Service of the Ministry of Ecological Transition has requested the City Council information prior to filing a contentious appeal against the municipal decision to approve the strategic environmental assessment of the Metrovacesa skyscraper project, separated only by the Acequión canal, from the project of Baraka. The governing board rejected the claim because the legal action can only be brought after the detailed study has been approved. Situation that occurs now in the case of Baraka.

Puig says goodbye to the year announcing "a historical employment record" and demanding the reform of the regional financing model

The president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, addressed the citizens of the Valencian Community this Friday in his traditional end-of-year message with a special remembrance for the victims of the pandemic: more than 8,000 people in the Valencian territory. Puig has appealed to people’s sense of responsibility and has taken pride in the community vaccination figures, as an “example throughout the world” in the face of a pandemic that “is being a devastating blow for the entire society”. The leader of the Consell has also assured that, in 2022, “it is crucial to protect mental health” and to continue promoting vaccination since it is “the time for science.”

Puig has also taken advantage of his intervention to take stock of the economic situation of the Community. In terms of employment, the president recalled that, in the last year, “81,000 Valencians have found work” which means more than 220 new jobs a day. In addition, he has also announced that, tomorrow “a historical employment record” will be released to exceed two million people affiliated with social security. In this sense, Puig has assured that “the priority for 2022 is to maintain this power in the recovery”, something that must be done “in the form of more and better jobs” since “it is indecency that there are poor workers.”

The president has recognized that “the price of the orange that the farmer charges is unfair” and “the meager wage” of those who work as pickers in the field, injustices that he proposes to reverse with three ambitions: a workers’ society focused on occupation and not in the subsidy, of respect – that values ​​the contribution of each one – and of equal opportunities as well as between men and women.

Puig recalled that, next year, the Valencian Community Statute of Autonomy turns 40 and has highlighted the importance of a document that “symbolizes two achievements: a guarantee of progress in daily life and the framework of coexistence within which we all fit”.

The president has also made use of his intervention to launch a message in a national key, defending the “stability” of the Valencian Government – which has approved seven budgets in the last seven years – in the face of the extremes of independence “that leads nowhere” and of “centralist selfishness” that leads “to division.”

The message was recorded in Elca, the country house of the poet Francisco Brines – a Valencian academic writer of the RAE and winner of, among other awards, the Cervantes Prize – who died in 2021. A “symbolic” space that, for the president, “evokes the value of the reflective word and not of the shout, the insult or the offense”.

Annual inflation in Spain rises 6.7% in December, the highest level in nearly three decades

After a year of inflation rates in Spain that have not been seen in a very long time, December has not bucked the trend. Consumer price inflation (CPI) in the last month of 2021 rose 6.7% compared to December 2020, according to advance data published today by the National Statistics Institute (INE).

This indicator has been rising since March, after an anomalous deflationary period caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. December marks the ninth month with a rate above 2%, which is the limit that the European Central Bank (ECB) considers to be optimal. Drifting below this target means a serious compromise of economic growth, and going above it – as has been the case since April 2021 – puts household purchasing power at risk, forcing consumers to spend more to cover basic expenses at the cost of other spending.

In its advance release, the INE explained that the rise in power bills has had a particular influence. In January, the definitive data will be published, and will include the exact weight of each component from the CPI.

It was to be expected that energy costs – the wholesale price of which broke yet more records in Spain last week – would be among them. Also among the goods that are pulling prices up are foodstuffs. The INE added that gasoline and lubricants for personal vehicles are among those categories that have gotten cheaper since last year.

In November, inflation came in at a year-on-year increase of 5.5%. This was the highest rate since October 1992. December has continued that trend, and the indicator does not yet seem to have peaked. To find a similar precedent, the rate of March 1992, nearly three decades ago, came in at 6.9%.

More favourable is underlying inflation, which is used by analysts to anticipate the future manoeuvres of banking regulators. This rate eliminates the price index of unprocessed foods and energy products. For this indicator, Spain has been showing more-contained rates than the eurozone as a whole, and according to advance data from the INE, the year-on-year increase for December is 2.1%. However, this is still four-tenths of a point up on November, is the highest percentage since March 2013, and exceeds the psychological barrier of 2%.

In monthly terms, prices went up 1.3% in December compared to the month before. This is the biggest rise for the last month of the year since 1983. The harmonized CPI, an indicator with international standards used to make comparisons between countries, came in at a 1.2% month-on-month rise, while the annual figure is also 6.7%.

This inflationary pressure is not confined to Spain. Prices in the eurozone grew 4.9% in November (the December figure will be released next week), and in the United States the rate has been even higher for months now.

While inflation is one of the issues that most concerns economists, central banks have played down its importance, insisting that it will be transitory. Coronavirus lockdowns had a negative effect on activity and consumption, pulling prices down. As the economy starts to bounce back, the opposite phenomena is being seen. The main fear of analysts is that this tension will last longer than expected, thus affecting household purchasing power and forcing the withdrawal of economic stimulus from the ECB.

For Spain and other countries whose recoveries are happening slower, this would be a problem given that access to loans, which is how this recovery is being financed, would be more complicated.

The Generalitat injects almost 700,000 euros into the San Antón project

The Council has authorized an agreement between the Department of Housing and the City Council of Elche that will report 696,395 euros to the municipal coffers with a charge to the year 2021 that is now ending and intended for the regeneration and renovation of the San Antón neighbourhood. In a note, the Generalitat downplays the importance of signing the last day of the year because, in any case, it allows the payment of those expenses generated throughout the year or that have been certified against the project.

The agreement between both institutions is articulated through the municipal company Pimesa within the State Plan for Housing Development, Building Rehabilitation and Urban Regeneration and Renovation.

“The action includes the construction of new buildings with a type B energy rating, within the scope of the neighbourhood,” says the note from the Council. In San Antón there is a forecast of four blocks, of which three are finished, which completes 284 homes with an investment of 36.7 million.

The Generalitat explains that “due to the high determination of the dwellings, the action includes the demolition works of the buildings, the construction of new ones and the necessary redevelopment, as well as the execution of a rehousing program and the performance of the functions of technical management and information”. In addition to those 696,395 euros given by the Generalitat, the Ministry of Public Works commits another 464,435 euros to the project, which completes the figure in 2021 of 1,160,831 euros.



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