Following a Wednesday when there were contradictory statements regarding the return of tourist tax revenue paid by Thomas Cook clients to hoteliers, tourism minister Iago Negueruela confirmed today that this will not now happen.
The PSOE spokesperson Silvia Cano made an announcement yesterday that the tourist tax measure had been dropped. Shortly afterwards, Negueruela insisted that this wasn't the case. He now accepts, however, that the use of the tourist tax to help hoteliers overcome liquidity problems they may have is the measure which has "generated the most controversy". It has also, he notes, raised doubts in legal circles. Moreover, because of the accounting system for the tourist tax, the "return" to hoteliers wouldn't be formalised until January at the earliest. This was therefore slower than other means of financial support.
The government will instead enable a line of direct aid of up to three million euros, which was the maximum amount calculated with the tourist tax measure. Negueruela says that, despite the change in the "system", this will be "exactly what was agreed" at meetings with employers and unions.
He is stressing that this measure is "exceptional and urgent". "We have a real liquidity problem that needs to be addressed." Referring to disagreement between PSOE and Més, he hopes that "differences" will be parked and that there will be full approval at tomorrow's cabinet meeting, at which a decree law will be made for the financial assistance.