Tourism minister Iago Negueruela is scheduled to appear before parliament's tourism committee tomorrow. He is expected to give further explanations regarding the government's decision to return tourist tax revenue paid by Thomas Cook clients for July to September to hoteliers.
During yesterday's parliamentary session, Negueruela addressed the political row that has erupted because of this decision between his party, PSOE, and government partners Més. He accepted that there had been mistakes and failures in coordination and communication. However, he explained that there was an agreement by the cabinet to help businesses with liquidity problems because of an "exceptional situation". The tourist tax measure and others, he added, were "not government measures" but ones that were "the fruit of social dialogue" with various bodies. The amount of tourist tax revenue for hoteliers will be "less than three million euros".
Més, who want the decision to be reconsidered, say that there are alternative means of helping businesses, such as the contingency fund which is itemised in the annual budget. This could be used to cover liquidity issues without there being a link to the tourist tax.
The party continues to insist that its two ministers did not support the tourist tax measure, but government vice-president, Juan Pedro Yllanes of Podemos, has once more stated that there had been no opposition, either from Podemos or Més. In his view, the use of tax revenue for hoteliers "does not pervert its purpose as it (the tourist tax) was designed to mitigate the effects of tourism".