"Big Society" Spanish version

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"Big Society" Spanish version


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Old 8th July 2012, 04:28 PM
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Would you volunteer to sweep the streets in your spare time to help your town or village pay off its debts?

Village volunteers working off debts | In English | EL PAÍS

Quote:
In Higuera de la Serena, a village in Badajoz province, Sunday is the longest working day of the week. Skipping the day of rest is not the only thing that people here do differently. Over 100 of the 1,041 residents of Higuera sweep the streets, trim the trees and fix the local fountain without charging a cent for it.

These drastic measures are the result of years of bad management, the locals say. Now, Higuera owes 800,000 euros [mainly because of a retirement home built on the edge of the town that needs extra work done to meet new requirements.]

In order to meet its payment obligations with suppliers, Higuera applied for a special adjustment plan designed by the Finance Ministry for municipalities in distress. A check for 300,000 euros arrived last month and helped pay around 20 businesses that were hired by the previous Socialist administration for maintenance work and mobile telephony services.

In exchange for the cash, the town is not allowed to spend a single euro for the next two years; the state will watch its every move and the money will have to be returned at an interest rate of 5.6 percent over the next decade.

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Old 8th July 2012, 05:29 PM
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We already sweep our own bit of street, it's what is already done. As for paying off all that the alcalde has pocketed...

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Old 8th July 2012, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Alcalaina View Post
Would you volunteer to sweep the streets in your spare time to help your town or village pay off its debts?

Village volunteers working off debts | In English | EL PAÍS
Yes. Why not?
Although I would prefer that an unemployed person were paid to do the job. But if there's no money and no possibility of any then I'd grab a broom rather than see litter pile in the streets. Wouldn't you?


ADANA is already doing for free work the Ayto has a statutuory responsibility to do.
Shouild we leave dogs to die in the heat for some ideological objection?

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Old 9th July 2012, 08:00 AM
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As far as I am aware Nerja town hall has been employing unemployed folk for a couple of years now to tend to the gardens and keep the streets clean. Well done them I say...

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Old 9th July 2012, 08:39 AM
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As far as I am aware Nerja town hall has been employing unemployed folk for a couple of years now to tend to the gardens and keep the streets clean. Well done them I say...
Yes, nearly all towns that. It means they can build up enough social security contributions to qualify them for unemployment benefit.

That's different from people volunteering to work without pay though.

It reminds me of a comment I heard recently on a comedy programme, talking about cuts in funding to the police in the UK: soon criminals will be doing community policing as part of their community service ...

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Old 9th July 2012, 08:44 AM
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I have been sweeping/weeding our street for the last 8 years and in all that time I have never seen anyone else with a broom in their hand. Our town hall have not swept our streets since they were elected whereas with the previous administration it was done every fortnight.

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Old 9th July 2012, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Alcalaina View Post
Yes, nearly all towns that. It means they can build up enough social security contributions to qualify them for unemployment benefit.

That's different from people volunteering to work without pay though.

It reminds me of a comment I heard recently on a comedy programme, talking about cuts in funding to the police in the UK: soon criminals will be doing community policing as part of their community service ...
But we at ADANA work without pay -well, most of us - and have been doing so for over twenty years. If we stopped tomorrow, then the only consequence would be that dogs would die.

What in principle is wrong with people 'working' without pay? Do you think that all the voluntary associations in Spain, the UK and elsewhere should shut down immediately?

Local authorities have certain responsibilities towards their citizens and their citizens pay local taxes to fund these services.
But do we really want a state where nobody does anything unless there is financial reward at the end?
Is there really no value whatsoever in citizens' voluntary work? Must everything be the responsibility of the local or national state?

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Old 9th July 2012, 11:08 AM
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Personally yes I would..
I sweep outside my place in Novelda as does every other housewife in the surrounding streets, plus they throw buckets of hot water with bleach over the cobbles then scrub..

When I lived in Scotland in a tiny village with a sandy beach we the villagers would do beach clean ups so that visitors could enjoy the beach. In all the years I lived there I never witnessed any environmental agency visiting, it was left up to us to keep it looking nice,


In an ideal world everyone would be employed but when there is no money to pay for street cleaning I would rather do it myself than live in a tip and moan about the mess.



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Old 9th July 2012, 11:23 AM
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But this isn't a discussion about 'the nanny state'.

Its about a particular village in Extremadura where the council owes 800,000 euros to its suppliers and now has to face the consequences - by taking a Government loan, actually paying suppliers with this and spending not a cent on anything else.

The villagers are annoyed and rightly so. Their council has squandered funds on a state of the art retirement home which, although (perhaps) wanted by some, was not essential (to the villagers anyway).

So this is not annoyance at having to work together to get essential maintenance done, it is annoyance that the villagers have been placed in this position in the first place.
And it is yet another example of village councils not paying suppliers for services, which is leading, in many parts of Spain, to the situation when essential services are not being carried out.

But to answer the question:
Quote:
Would you volunteer to sweep the streets in your spare time to help your town or village pay off its debts?
I sweep the public walkway along the edge of our village every day (it runs over the canal like a kind of prom). And the reason I do this is because our dogs walk along it, so I want to make sure it is clean for anyone else walking there.
I don't sweep the street outside our house, because one of the ladies in the street insists sweeping the street is her job and swears at me if she sees me outside the house with a broom.

But I do what I do to help keep the village nice for the villagers. It is nothing to do with helping the local council.
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Old 9th July 2012, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mrypg9 View Post
But we at ADANA work without pay -well, most of us - and have been doing so for over twenty years. If we stopped tomorrow, then the only consequence would be that dogs would die.

What in principle is wrong with people 'working' without pay? Do you think that all the voluntary associations in Spain, the UK and elsewhere should shut down immediately?

Local authorities have certain responsibilities towards their citizens and their citizens pay local taxes to fund these services.
But do we really want a state where nobody does anything unless there is financial reward at the end?
Is there really no value whatsoever in citizens' voluntary work? Must everything be the responsibility of the local or national state?
I don't have a problem with what they are doing in Higuera, because it's an emergency situation and it's better to get out there with a broom than sit around complaining while the rubbish piles up.

There's nothing wrong with the voluntary sector doing what it does best, including services like ADANA. I don't think taxpayers' money should be spent on keeping unwanted dogs alive, especially when cuts are being made to health and social care for humans.

But volunteers shouldn't be taking the place of paid employees as a routine cost-saving exercise. It might start off as a short-term emergency measure but it could end up like the UK, where librarians who have been made redundant are now being asked to keep libraries open by working without pay.
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