11-12-2014Teresa Ayuga

Palma/Madrid.—Around 200,000 people could lose their jobs just after Christmas when Spain scraps its current system of protected rents for small businesses. Critics worry the move could also turn Spain’s high streets into bland, chain-store dominated affairs.
While business has held up during Spain’s economic downturn, shops, many owned by the same family since  they  opened, can’t afford a sharp rise in its rent that will come into force when decades of rent controls stop at the end of the year.
They  will simply shut their  doors in January.
Across Spain about 200,000 shops, bars and restaurants are affected and 65,000 to 70,000 could be forced to close, according to UPTA, the professional and autonomous workers’ union that represents independent store owners. Most are family-run businesses.

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