Local Daily News 3rd August

Companies, hotels and restaurants in the province see energy saving measures as "extreme"

Controversy surrounding the measures approved by the Government of Sánchez to save energy after the agreement at a European level. The business and hotel, restaurant and leisure sectors in the province of Alicante describe them as “extreme” and “alarming”, because the obligation that the air conditioning does not fall below 27 degrees this summer does not seem even feasible, nor the maximum 19 degrees for heating when the time comes.

Companies, hotels, restaurants, shops and administration services, with the exception of health and education, have seven days to implement these measures, which also include automatic closing of doors before September 30th, adjustments of air compressors, informative posters about the saving actions undertaken and thermometers that make the required temperature visible, among others.

The general secretary of the association of the hotel and tourist company Hosbec, Nuria Montes, weighs that it is “hasty”, and that in particular the limitation of the degrees “exceeds what is advisable”, because there are many air compressors that do not even They start at that temperature.

It also indicates, as Salvador Navarro also makes clear from the presidency of the CEV, the business confederation, that of its own accord they do not stop implementing saving measures because it is in the DNA of management to try to economise, as it may be in the case of the hotel plant, access controls so that the air conditioning is turned off if it is not used, or geothermal systems that are more sustainable than fossil fuels.

Montes reflects that going further without listening to the sector can cause tourists to flee to other areas such as Turkey because vacations are always equated with comfort and nobody goes to a hotel to be worse off than at home.

Navarro adds that each and every one of the citizens must be willing to contribute to energy savings in the face of the uncertainty of the war and the extra cost of depending on gas, but he also warns that the employers can only make “recommendations”, and that promoting teleworking also forces, on the other hand, to consume air conditioning at home if we do not all go hand in hand. “In terms of consuming less energy, we all have to do our part,” she emphasises.

Textile entrepreneurs represented by José Serna indicate in this regard that a government order will not in itself generate greater energy efficiency, that the sector is already well aware of the critical situation.

Serna abounds in the discomfort of the sector, which is on a tightrope due to the uncertainty of the war. “There is no guarantee of anything and companies have to take risks, the alternative to gas may be profitable at a given moment, but if the situation changes it will no longer be,” he warns.

Something similar to what they indicate from the shops. Vicente Armengol, vice president of Facpyme, in the midst of reforming lights to incorporate the LED system, specifies that the “blackout” of shop windows at 10:00 p.m., which is also recommended by the Royal Decree on energy saving, may have consequences on citizen security; In addition to the fact that the measure harms businesses for which the image is a very important part of their existence.

Nor are they in favour of the measures being mandatory, much less entailing fines of up to 60,000 euros for minor infractions, up to 6 million for serious ones and up to 100 million euros for very serious ones.

César Anca, representative of the restaurant sector, regrets that the Government has generalised without taking into account what it means to have a room at 27 degrees, which also has the kitchen in sight and with cellar cameras that cannot be compared to a clothing store, he says.

He regrets that the new measures represent one more stone on the road and advocates that others be valued “that do not always harm the mimes. They seem to be one more limitation, far from trying to help the productive sector. We are alarmed and angry,” he concludes.

On a political level, while President Ximo Puig criticises his counterpart from Madrid and the Popular Party as “irresponsible” for their refusal to put into practice the measures approved by the socialist government, on which he points out that “we must be aware that climate change is a reality and Mrs. Ayuso’s option is irresponsible”, the mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, calls for municipal autonomy when applying them.

Despite admitting that he will abide by everything that implies a legislative obligation, the maximum representative in Alicante demands more “realistic” measures to really address solutions and not “occurrence after occurrence”, and that each municipality be given options to adapt to the environment because “summers and winters are not the same throughout Spain” and “living in the Pyrenees is not the same as in Alicante or the south coast”. He concludes that Alicante already consumes 26% less than three years ago due to the sustainable measures put in place by the Consistory.

The spokesman for the government team of the Elche City Council, Héctor Diez, agrees on his part in having already implemented energy saving measures. “The monuments are currently turned off at one in the morning, although after the August Festivities we plan to turn them off at midnight.” That “with the fountains we have a reduced morning and afternoon schedule. During the nights and early afternoons, coinciding with the siesta and the decrease in activity in the city, they are turned off”, and that after the August festivities they will adapt to what the regulations indicate.

In the street, while the elderly applaud the saving that the Government recommends, and even affirm that they are already acting in this way at home, above all for saving reasons, with the air turned off and reaching for the fan; the younger ones blatantly disagree. They do not accept by any means not having the extra cool that implies going to a shopping centre, nor are they willing to sweat the fat drop in a restaurant with show cooking or even in the disco for having been forced to dance at 27 degrees.

The province relies on tourism to escape the general increase in unemployment

The province of Alicante has managed to escape the increase in registered unemployment in Spain thanks to tourism. There have been 1,390 people who have left the unemployment lists thanks to the push of the services sector and the group of people without previous work, which places this territory as the third in which unemployment has fallen the most. This is a lower decrease than that usually registered in July, although it must be valued as it is much more positive than that of the country as a whole, where for the first time since 2008 employment has been destroyed this month, as 3,230 unemployed have been recorded. The unions, however, regret that the province continues to depend so much on a highly seasonal sector such as tourism, while businessmen warn of a slowdown in both activity and associated employment.

The black clouds that are drawn on the horizon have begun to take their toll in terms of employment, the result of an inflation that is skyrocketing as a result of the war in Ukraine and a recession that is already a reality in the United States and that threatens to spread as well to the euro zone. This has been revealed in the data published this Tuesday by the Ministry of Labour, since for the first time since 2008 unemployment has increased in Spain in July, with 3,230 new unemployed people leaving a total balance of 2,883,812.

This has not been the case, however, in the province of Alicante, which has managed to resist the onslaught and has maintained its line of job creation. In fact, the 1,390 people who have left the unemployment lists make this territory the third in the whole of Spain in which more employment has continued to be generated, only surpassed by the province of Cádiz, where 2,920 fewer unemployed are registered, and Asturias, with 1,464. Thus, Alicante currently accounts for 139,893 unemployed, which represents, on the other hand, 31,911 less than just a year ago.

And tourism has played a fundamental role in making this possible, since services account for 686 fewer unemployed, which places the total figure at 93,953. The group of people without previous employment has also absorbed an important part of the tourist demand, with a decrease of 731 unemployed, leaving the global figure at 9,603. Slight decreases were also registered in industry, with 36 fewer unemployed, placing the record at 18,306, and agriculture, with a drop of 31 to total 5,534. The only sector in which unemployment is growing is in construction, with 96 people who have stopped working, increasing the total figure to 12,497.

Permanent hiring, on the other hand, continues to be predominant, despite having fallen by 13% compared to the previous month. All in all, 30,250 contracts of this type have been formalised compared to 28,392 temporary ones, something little less than unthinkable before the labour reform was approved. This fact can be seen in all its intensity in the year-on-year comparison, since fixed contracts have multiplied by four in the period from January to July, going from the 37,391 that were formalised in the first seven months of 2021 to the 159,937 for the current year.

Another positive fact is that of affiliation to Social Security, which continues to break records. In July, 6,071 new contributors were registered, which places the global figure at 719,905. In this case, the main contribution has been that of the general scheme, which leaves 6,287 new affiliates, given that 330 self-employed workers have been lost in the same period.

The province of Alicante has been the one that has registered the greatest decrease in unemployment in the Valencian Community, although there has also been a decrease of 681 unemployed in Castellón and 856 in Valencia, to leave the total number of unemployed in the autonomous territory at 345,831.

With all this information, the only element that raises doubts is that the drop in unemployment in Alicante is being sustained mainly by tourism. This is what the unions show. José María Ruiz, Employment Secretary of the CC OO in l’Alacantí and Les Marines, warns of the “pathological dependency” of the service sector, which, in his opinion, shows that “the transformation of the provincial productive pattern is still pending”. Another element that draws attention is the fact that 92.5% of the people belonging to the group of people without previous work who have been hired are young people under 25 years of age, which “invites us to think that their incorporation into the labour market, in spite of his more than remarkable training, goes through assuming the increase in the demand for employment that the services sector produces in summer”.

For her part, Yaissel Sánchez, general secretary of the UGT in the same demarcation, positively assesses that, taking into account such seasonal hiring, “the labour reform has placed the indefinite modality as a reference, allowing thousands of workers to enjoy decent, stable and safe working conditions after years of precariousness and excessive and unjustified temporary work”. Both unions, on the other hand, regret that the gender gap continues to be present, to the point that only 35.3% of the decrease in unemployment has benefited women, while demanding salary increases and protection measures that help women. families to cope with inflation.

Regarding dependence on tourism, the professor of Applied Economic Analysis at the University of Alicante, Paloma Taltavull, is more optimistic. In his words, “it is a sector that has already demonstrated its ability to generate wealth, and whose seasonality is becoming less and less. In addition, the fact that new people are entering the labour market is a very positive element, given that it will come in handy now, when it seems that curves are coming”.

In the Business Confederation of the Valencian Community (CEV), its general secretary, Esther Guilabert, has valued the decrease in unemployment and the increase in Social Security affiliates, although it draws attention to the fact that the Valencian, despite improving its position, it is the third autonomy with the lowest reduction in unemployment compared to the levels registered before the covid crisis. She also warns of the prospect of a slowdown in activity and associated employment, for which she invites a moderation of optimism.

Finally, the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, has not hesitated to point out that “progress is being made towards the maximum reduction in unemployment, although without falling into a triumphalist analysis, given that, he adds, “despite the fact that the environment and the growth are favourable, wages are not adequate, and even more so in a situation of inflation such as the one we are going through”. The Autonomous Secretary for Employment, Enric Nomdedéu, for his part, has valued that the Community has been in July the autonomy with the most drop in unemployment in absolute terms.

Benidorm will improve accessibility: eight actions with a budget of 835,000 euros

Improve the universal accessibility of neighbourhoods and mobility conditions. The Benidorm City Council will carry out the project called ‘Accessibility Improvement 2022’ which is part of the Benidorm Universal Accessibility Plan and the Tourist Accessibility Plan. An action that has been approved by the Local Government Board and has a budget of 835,964 euros and provides for eight actions in different areas.

Thus, as stated in the approved project, the Accessibility Improvement Plan will be developed through eight actions. The first of them will be held on Infiesto street. The second will take place on Avenida de los Limones and Calle Marqués de Comillas. The next two will be carried out on Pescadores and Santa Faz streets. The fifth performance will be on Alfonso Puchades avenue; the sixth in Sierra Dorada street and the last two interventions will be made in Camí Pla del Cuartel and in Abad de Tormes street.

These are “key and backbone” instruments of the actions aimed at Benidorm “advancing its concept of the city as a space for coexistence, to create compressible, usable and practicable environments for all people”, explained the mayor Toni Pérez. This aspect has created the need to act in several areas of the municipal term “in order to guarantee the safety and comfort of the users of public roads”. The action, said the first mayor, consists “in improving the conditions of mobility and accessibility of different areas of the municipality.

Pérez has underlined that in recent years the City Council has undertaken an accessibility policy based on the adaptation of public spaces to people with “any disability” and for this purpose measures have been adopted such as guidance in these spaces, the implementation of platforms unique or acoustic warnings for deafblind people at traffic lights.

He also recalled that in April 2019 the Universal Accessibility Plan was approved to adapt municipal road spaces to people with motor or visual disabilities, and recently the Tourist Accessibility Plan was also approved to enhance and promote the city as a benchmark for tourism for people with disabilities. “The truth is that year after year this government team is allocating economic means to achieve the continuous improvement of roads and public spaces” pointed out the mayor.

The objective of this Accessibility Improvement Plan is to achieve the Accessible Pedestrian Route (IPA) and this happens, Toni Pérez specified, “through interventions to increase the width of the sidewalks, the creation of lugs at intersections and the promotion of single platform.

Food shopping shoots up to 50% in five months in the province

Food prices are exorbitant. The cost of such basic products as oil, milk, eggs, fish, all meats and most fruits push households to change their habits. Consumers are trying to cut costs when buying in markets and supermarkets. As sellers and representatives of consumer associations explain, families have to somehow compensate for the loss of purchasing power due to the rise in food prices, which is added to that of fuel or the energy bill.

In the first five months of the year, the purchase of food in volume by Spanish households has decreased by 11% compared to the same period of the previous year, as revealed days ago by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas. Shopping has become “more selective”, and the way of filling the fridge changes: people go to supermarkets and markets more often depending on the need for products and the fridge is not happily filled, a behaviour of “crisis of consumption” in the face of rising prices.

The shopping basket is now up to 600 euros more expensive than a year ago and behind it is inflation, which reached 10.8 percent in July, according to preliminary data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the most high in the last 38 years. The reality is that its cost has skyrocketed by up to 50% in five months in the second price rise recorded in a year, after the one that occurred with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, which tripled the price of oil of sunflower and that has skyrocketed the market value of everything that contains cereals, such as bread or pasta. The Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) manages a study according to which this has not stopped yet and forecasts that at the end of the year the annual shopping basket will be 830 euros more expensive.

The second price rise in a year makes products such as oil between 45% and 118% more expensive; muffins and margarine 75%; bananas, 63.6%; pasta, 59.9%; frozen fish more than 50%; fruits 30%; eggs 27%; and meats, fresh fish, milk and cereals around 20%. Food retailers are already noticing the drop in consumption as less money is spent on food (an average decrease of 15%), due to the loss of purchasing power; and the small stores are beginning to forget to close their stalls in the summer, as they did until now, to proceed to take turns resting without closing the blinds. An example of the progressive rise in prices is something as basic as natural yoghurt: a year ago they cost 0.99 euros; they rose to 1.19 after the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and now they are worth 1.25 euros.

“Everything is rising progressively and the problem between Spain, Morocco and Algeria does not help either. Products such as squid, cuttlefish, octopus and sole are fished in Moroccan waters; and apart from the price issue, the problem is that there may be a shortage of some products,” explains Abel Fernández, owner of a frozen fish stall in Alicante’s Central Market. This business has seen its electricity bill skyrocket from 400 euros per month to 1,200 euros for cooling with the same consumption as in previous years, an extra cost that they claim does not affect the consumer, only the increase in the price of the product “because people You have to eat”.

Frozen squid has accumulated a rise of over 50% in its price since the war in Ukraine. In February a kilo of large fish in Moroccan waters cost 16 euros and now it is 24 euros as this species is scarce due to the warming of the Mediterranean water.

Cuttlefish now cost 40% more. From 10.40 euros per kilo it has gone to 14.50 euros. The octopus, 20% more. Behind, the price of fuel, electricity, the war, the crisis in Spain with the countries of North Africa and the fact that many boats “do not go out to fish because they do not pay them. If before they paid 10,000 euros for fuel for a week it now costs twice as much and container rental has gone from 3,000 euros to 14,000 euros. People have to raise prices to continue working. These are difficult times.”

Fresh fish and seafood are no exception. Mussels close to 5 euros per kilo and 14 euros for shellfish. In the case of fresh fish, the biological strike of fishermen also has a lot to do with it, as there are now in Calpe and two weeks ago in La Vila. The whiting (there is little) has increased the price of scrambled eggs for frying, which has risen to 4 euros in a few months. At María Jesús Bas’s stand, what has risen the most is farmed bluefin tuna, the one that the Japanese take. It costs 54 euros for the sirloin and 68 euros for the ventresca. It is because there is no wild tuna, which is worth about 38 euros. On the other hand, he reports that the skewered hake, from San Sebastián, has come down from Hogueras. In May it cost 28 euros and now a little less than 25 euros.

Meats suffered a 30% rise at the beginning of the year, and from then until now another 20%. Everything, from pork tenderloin to chicken, according to vendors, who see how the raw material at origin costs them at least 20% more since the war in Ukraine. “We have assumed the increase ourselves until we have had to adjust margins. Veal, for example, has gone from costing 5.50 euros per kilo to 6.50 euros. It has not been sudden but progressive since February. We try not to affect it but in the end we will have viability problems because our margins are not high,” says Jesús Díaz, owner of Carnes Moltó in the Central Market of Alicante.

One of the most important expenses they have is the electricity bill, which forces them to be aware of refrigeration. There are also merchants, like Díaz himself, who have changed the lighting of the exhibitors to LED lights more than for aesthetics because of the temperature because the old lighting gave more heat and forced the cold of the chambers to rise.

In fruits and vegetables, more of the same. “Going up everything has gone up, it’s skyrocketing. Vegetables are expensive because most are from winter and due to the heat now they spoil more; peaches don’t go down in price despite being in season, and neither do cherries or figs,” he explains. Noelia Aleman, from Frutas Aleman, who points to an average rise in the genre so far this year of between 20% and 30%.

One of the most expensive products despite being in season are apricots. They have them at 5.60 euros per kilo. Cherries are also less than 7.80 euros. The weather has an influence because the cherries were in bloom when it hailed in the mountains of Alicante, “there is less product, because much of it spoiled, and it is more expensive.” “It’s a cluster of situations, the war, inflation, the weather…”. Other examples are tomatoes at 4.80 euros per kilo; red and green peppers at 3.80 euros; and plums at 5.20 euros per kilo. Then there are exclusive products such as the plane mango that arrives from Mexico at its exact point of ripeness and that has no threads, which costs around 10 euros per kilo.

The Vega Baja Hospital will add 52 more beds to its 330 and two new buildings

“It is a particularly important day for Vega Baja”, began the Minister of Health, Miguel Mínguez, in the presentation of the expansion project of the Vega Baja Hospital that “will substantially improve care services” in the Orihuela Health Department. The current building has a constructed area of ​​36,300 square metres which will be increased by 14,696 more, to 50,000, which is 40% more.

All this translates into the construction of two buildings that will be connected to the current hospital centre, which will be located in the centre. As explained by the Minister, “one of the main objectives is to promote outpatient care.” Thus, the building on the north side, which will have a ground floor and two floors, will house the outpatient clinics, the Day Hospital, Mental Health and the centralization of the electrical and water installations.

As for the building that will be located in the south, with a ground floor and a height, it will have operating rooms -major and minor outpatient surgery units-, as well as endoscopic and hemodialysis areas. In this way, it is located close to the surgical block, UCMA and ICU, care resources with which it requires a greater relationship.

In addition, Mínguez has indicated, this frees up space to increase hospitalisation capacity, which is increased by 52 beds -now 330.

Likewise, the project includes a platform on the ground floor to facilitate external access to the different buildings. The plot will also be reorganised to optimise the parking area.

“It is absolutely essential, and it is real”, the Minister continued, since he has underlined that he has an assigned budget of 70 million euros, as President Ximo Puig advanced in his recent visit to Orihuela for the purchase of the Palacio del Marquis of Rafael.

The bidding for the works, which has already been published, represents 69.4 million euros, to which are added the 758,170 euros for the drafting of the project and the construction management. The companies have until September 12 to present their offers. After the Minister’s presentation, which was attended by representatives of the department’s municipalities -especially by the PSOE-, a guided tour was carried out for twenty merchants interested in the project.

According to Mínguez, the action is expected to begin before the end of the year, with a duration of 30 months. Meanwhile, “any citizen who requires health care will have it guaranteed as normal”, since the intervention will be carried out in phases.

Thus, in the first place, the temporary ramp for emergency vehicles will be carried out, the adaptation of the new heliport, the new parking areas and the demolition of existing buildings. Later, the construction of the building located to the north, the first section of the platform and the connections with the existing building will be carried out.

Later, the south building, the rest of the platform and the connections with the current building will be built. Finally, the urbanisation of the plot, the perimeter fence and the access of users and personnel will be carried out.

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