The Stupidity of Parliament
NOW that we have seen the expenses of MPs published officially, it is as clear as daylight that they never intended the public to know what was going on.
It beggars belief that anybody in authority could have thought it was a good idea to officially publish less than we already know. It demonstrates just how arrogant are the kind of people who are employed in senior positions in the Houses of Parliament and how dangerous it can be when those traits are combined with MPs wishing to protect their hides! Finally, I have to ask what Ray Fleming now thinks, given his view that the Daily Telegraph was irresponsible to publish details in advance? Perhaps he will now accept that the Daily Telegraph did us a public service and their increased circulation is, for once, richly deserved.
Port de Pollensa
I do hope that that Ray Fleming's possible prediction that John Bercow MP could be the next speaker is wrong. He is just another MP who has had his nose in the murky expenses trough for some years. While I have been a Conservative for most of my voting life the British people need better in these times. Who better than Vince Cable MP. He has shown to be a man of the highest integrity and I believe should be persuaded by those with the greatest influence to show his interest in this job.
Santa Eugenia and West Oxfordshire
ONCE again the thorny question of illegal rental properties raises its head!
The authorities, presumably pressurised by the hotels, have issued a bold statement of what they are going to do to curb this illicit trade.
I find the whole business to be unbelievable! Majorca is arguably one of the most beautiful islands in the world and today relies on tourism as a major contributor towards its economy. Why therefore take action, which will harm this situation when there are so many alternative destinations fighting to take over this important and lucrative trade.
Ignoring any possible EU rules which might not permit this government intervention and consider this restrictive practice as illegal, consider some of the facts.
Why are the authorities here taking this action?
It would appear from the information available it is to ensure minimum standards to protect clients renting and more importantly to ensure that property owners who rent out their properties do pay the tax that is due on rental income.
I do appreciate that any rules made must accommodate the lowest common denominator and in this instance must take into consideration the bottom end of the market.
However let us consider the following points, which I have listed as a person who has owned property on this island for many years and have a deep and enduring love of Majorca. Additionally I founded and ran a small company promoting Majorca specifically at the upper end of the market, specialising in offering quality accommodation and services using both superior privately owned apartments and luxury villas together with quality hotels, mainly privately owned and primarily classed as boutique
The criteria for our rental properties was stringent and our property owners contract, written in Spanish, because a sizeable number of our owners were Spanish/Majorcan, was comprehensive.
Our brochure was informative and backed up by quality staff who had intimate knowledge of the product they were selling.
We were member of organisations to protect our clients such as Abta, The Association of Independent Tour Operators etc. and we were Atol bonded.
We worked with professional appointed management in all areas of the island
We were always conscious of being legal and approached the authorities to have clarification on the criteria required for registering properties, but were advised the way forward was to apply for registration for a specific property and in due course the owner would be advised of the result of the application.
We then actually submitted a copy of our very stringent contract to the authorities and advised that we as a Tour Operators and the Majorca Tourist authorities were or should be working together as we effectively had the same aim. To ensure that visitors to Majorca received fair and adequate treatment to ensure trouble free holidays and to foster repeat business. Response nil.
I fully appreciate that mass tourism at the lower end of the market requires a different approach to police it to regulations at the upper end. Our properties governed by our tight criteria fulfilled and indeed exceeded the demands of virtually all our clients. Our complaint level was so low it could almost have been discounted and our repeat business high. This was certainly due to our policy to ensure that ALL clients received the ultimate in service and facilities.
We worked closely with our owners with whom we had excellent relations. I do not want comment on the tax situation other than to comment that like with any form of earnings it is the responsibility of the person concerned to pay what they owe to the appropriate authorities, but to single out the income from property letting as a specific item to be treated separately would appear to be futile.
I would finally like to make the comment that from my years of experience the clients who favoured staying in our beautiful often family run hotels would not consider staying in our delightful villas with pools or luxury apartments. Indeed we had many clients who would only consider the same hotel, the same room and indeed in many cases the same friendly waiter! Conversely our other clients enjoyed their holidays in the peace and tranquillity of their private accommodation and had no interest in our equally delightful hotels.
I must stress that the criteria referred to here would not necessarily apply to other stratas of the industry.
We live and work in difficult times, let us therefore work together in harmony for the common good and think positive and not negative with infighting.
I live in Andratx town, so I read with envy the reports of an overzealous Calvia Council trying to impose yet more Draconian noise abatement measures on the beleaguered bar owners of their region. Although I feel genuinely sorry for the Calvia bar owners regarding the new, even stricter noise control measures, there IS a need for some control when it comes to noise levels late at night.
In the Andratx region, there are no noise control measures whatsoever.
Next Friday to Monday is our sleepless weekend where live rock music will be belted out from the main square at a truly deafening volume until 4:30 5:00am. For a significant number of residents, it is not just sleep that is impossible, you cannot talk to each other or hear the television (set at full volume) in your own home. The volume of this event is unbelievable and has to be experienced first-hand from within a dwelling as the wooden doors, windows and frames resonate alarmingly which could be giving rise to an amplification effect off the stone walls.
When the music finally stops, all you can then hear is the loud throbbing of two enormous diesel generators which can carry on for up to an hour.
The lack of respect for local residents by the organisers is breathtaking.
Last year I went out to complain to local police at 3:30am, but was greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and this is normal.
Surely, there should be at least an Island-wide law to the noise issue to give a level playing-field to all. Noise (or lack of it) is a basic human right covered by the human rights act. I live in hope that one day andratx council will realise that they should be representing their residents and limit the licence on this event to midnight and agree some acceptable decibel level the residents should endure.