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TALKING POLITICS ON EXITE RADIO

TALKING POLITICS ON EXITE RADIO

With the municipal elections getting closer by the day, now just 10 months away, the political situation in Orihuela is still one of bitter contrast. From numerous politicians facing criminal charges, others being ousted and even the mayor facing attem…

BENEFIT FRAUD TEAM IN SPAIN IS RECOVERING A RECORD £5M OF TAXPAYERS’ MONEY

If you suspect a benefit cheat in Spain, call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) hotline on 900 554 440. Your call is free and confidential.

If you suspect a benefit cheat in Spain, call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) hotline on 900 554 440. Your call is free and confidential.

Top three cheats this year had claimed over £200,000

More than £5m of UK taxpayers’ money lost to benefit fraud abroad is now being recovered by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigators in Spain.

The dedicated team in Madrid has investigated more than 1,250 cases of benefit fraud by British residents over the last five years, and works closely with UK counterparts to bring fraudsters to justice.

‘Abroad fraud’ is now the fourth largest type of benefit fraud, up almost 90% in the last three years – and Spain is the top of the list, with 769 cases investigated last year alone. The free and confidential hotline to use in Spain to report suspected benefit cheats is 900 554 440.

The top three benefit fraudsters in Spain who have been convicted so far this year had claimed some £217,000 between them. All three have now received jail sentences and been ordered to repay the money they stole.

Janice Purdie, 62, from Hove, this month pleaded guilty to over £130,000 of benefit fraud and received a 12-month prison sentence. She failed to tell DWP that she owned a property in Spain and had numerous different bank accounts whilst she was fraudulently claiming Income Support, Pension Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit over a nine-year period.

Jimmy Rickner, 72, from Exeter, was this month jailed for six months for fraudulently claiming almost £50,000 of disability benefits and Pension Credit over eight years, when in fact he was living with his partner in one of two properties he owned in Spain.

Thomas Wadham, 73, of Aylesbury, falsely claimed £37,000 of Housing Benefit and Pension Credit between 2007 and 2010 while he was living in Spain. He was sentenced to six months in jail in January and ordered to pay back all the money.

The UK Government is taking more action to tackle abroad fraud by increasing the use of life certificates to stop fraudsters continuing to claim benefits when a claimant has died, and increasing data-sharing so foreign authorities tell the UK about overseas claimants.

David Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, said:

“Benefit fraud is wrong both at home and abroad, and fraudsters need to know that our investigators will look into cases wherever they are and that their benefits will be stopped.

“We are toughening the rules to crack down on benefit cheats and recovering more money than ever as part of the Government’s long-term economic plan – clawing back a landmark £5m in Spain.

“But we know there is more to do and we are returning fairness to the welfare system to make sure it delivers for people in need and the hardworking taxpayer who funds it.”

Richard West, Head of DWP Fraud and Error Service, said:

“This is a significant achievement for our team in Spain and will hopefully serve as a warning to benefit cheats no matter where they are in the world.

“Fraudsters need to know that our investigators have the powers to track them down and that being overseas is no hiding place. We are determined to crack down on people who play the system, so that benefits only go to those who really need this help.”

If you suspect a benefit cheat in Spain, call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) hotline on 900 554 440. Your call is free and confidential.

All fraudsters face either an administrative penalty or criminal prosecution and all must pay back every penny they have obtained, so that taxpayers’ money continues to help the people most in need.

Typical frauds committed abroad include claims by people leaving Great Britain after their claim starts, people failing to notify DWP before leaving the country or staying abroad for too long, and families who fail to report the death of someone living abroad permanently and continuing to receive benefits.

Abroad fraud totalled £82m in 2013/14, including £48m of Pension Credit, £11m of Housing Benefit, £8m of Income Support and £15m of Employment and Support Allowance. The total was slightly below the £84m in 2012/13, after rising from £55m in 2011/12 and £44m in 2010/11.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44151/

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RAJOY EXPRESSES GRATITUDE TO POLICE OFFICERS

The President of the Government laid a laurel wreath at the monolith in tribute to them and lit the memorial flame

The President of the Government laid a laurel wreath at the monolith in tribute to them and lit the memorial flame

Mariano Rajoy asserted, at the inauguration of the memorial to members of the Spanish Police Force who have died in terrorist attacks, that Spanish society “cannot and will not ever forget” those officers who have defended the security and liberty of us all.

The President of the Government conveyed the recognition and gratitude of the government and the institutions and people of Spain to the Spanish Police Force. “Spanish society cannot and never will forget those who were on the side of peaceful co-existence, those who have defended and maintained our democracy and those who have laid down their lives to guarantee the security and liberty of us all”.

Rajoy described honouring the 186 national officers, together with the injured and their families, murdered by “terrorist fanaticism” in a permanent memorial as an “act of strict justice”. He also pointed out that the title of the exhibition opened on Wednesday at the Memorial, ‘Victory of freedom: the National Police Force against terrorism”, summarises the role performed by this institution in “the fight against terror and defence of this essential twin pillar comprising liberty and security”.

International benchmark

The President of the Government highlighted that this work undertaken by the National Police Force “has led to results” and Spain has become a benchmark for all those countries that continue to suffer from terrorism. “This is another achievement you can all feel proud of, as you can also be proud of forming part of an institution with almost 200 years of service to your compatriots”, he stated.

In this regard, Mariano Rajoy stressed the “fundamental importance” of these police officers for “underpinning” democracy and peaceful co-existence. “Never doubt Spanish society’s pride in you because it is aware that you are the best defenders of justice, the law and the Constitution that we have all contributed to enacting, a Constitution that has given us the longest period of liberty, stability and cohesion in our history”.

During the course of the inauguration of the Memorial, held at the Centre for Higher Police Studies, the names of all those who have fallen in terrorist attacks were read out. The President of the Government laid a laurel wreath at the monolith in tribute to them and lit the memorial flame.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44061/

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VALENCIA PHARMACISTS CONSIDER STRIKE ACTION

They say that they are now to call a meeting of all pharmacists on Monday, June 16 to discuss the situation further.

They say that they are now to call a meeting of all pharmacists on Monday, June 16 to discuss the situation further.

In a result that was totally unexpected the presidents of the College of Pharmacists of Alicante, Castellon and Valencia rejected the payment schedule for the settlement of their outstanding prescription debt proposed by the Generalitat councilors of Health and Finance last Monday.

They say that pharmacists no longer have the financial capability to bear the advance costs of medicines for the month of June unless the ministry clear their outstanding debts much quicker than the proposed schedule of payments. As such the risk of industrial action once again is likely to threaten the closure of pharmacies and therefore put many lives in danger across the region.

A representative for the pharmacists said following their meeting with the regional Government that the new payment schedule was ‘poor’ and it does not enable them to meet their own financial obligations.

The Generalitat meanwhile say that they are about to pay 41,32 million euro which equates to 42% of the outstanding invoice for the month of March. Minister for Health, Manuel Llombart , said that a ‘temporary problem’ in the treasury has prevented them paying the March bill, which was due by the end of May, but he hoped now to now speed things up so that the April invoice would be settled at the end of June, the remaining March invoice by 15 July and the May invoice by the end of July.

Following the publication of the payment schedule the Presidents of the College of Pharmacists convened on Monday to decide what actions they might undertake. The presidents of their three professional bodies then sent a statement signed by the Pharmacy Board Valenciano which made it clear that they do not accept these conditions.

They say that they are now to call a meeting of all pharmacists on Monday, June 16 to discuss the situation further.

Until then, due to the “serious situation” within the sector, the Assembly will send a burofax to Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro asking for intervention by the central government. The fax will inform the government of the liquidity problems faced by pharmacies and the ‘impact’ that may arise as a result of their continued dispute.

Llombart insisted however, that the two bodies are not “too far” from reaching a solution which he felt sure would quickly be found.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43937/

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LADY OF ELCHE TO RETURN HOME

Mercedes Alonso, the Elche mayor, has said that he wants to see it back on display in the city

Mercedes Alonso, the Elche mayor, has said that he wants to see it back on display in the city

La Dama de Elche (The Lady of Elche), found in La Alcudia in 1897, is one of the most famous sculptures in the world. Currently it is kept on display in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid but Mercedes Alonso, the Elche mayor, has said that, as was the case in 2006, he wants to see it back on display in the city before too much longer.

“I believe that the sculpture should be spending rather more time in the city than she does,” he said at a breakfast briefing organized by New Economy Forum last week, recalling that when the bust was moved to Elche from Madrid eight years ago, and displayed in el Palacio de Altamira it was warmly received and cared for by it’s new custodian and it was never put at any risk.

Alonso said that the City has raised the issue on several occasions with the minister of culture, José Ignacio Wert, and says that he feels that the Government of Spain will be sensitive to his request.

“We are currently working on the situation together and while it is a process that has certain formalities, I am optimistic that we will soon come to an arrangement regarding dates for the display of the Lady of Elche in our city,” the mayor added, noting that being able to visit to sculpture in it’s home will contribute enormously to the ability of the city to attract tourism.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43599/

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AIRPORT BOOST FROM DIRECTOR GENERAL OF CIVIL AVIATION

San Javier Airport is now looking to the future with rather more confidence than of late

San Javier Airport is now looking to the future with rather more confidence than of late

As Ryanair adds another route to its Murcia – San Javier catalogue, twice weekly flights to and from the Dutch city of Eindhoven, we seem to be none the wiser about the long term future of the Costa’s favourite small airport.

However a meeting which took place at the airport last week, presided over by the Director General of Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Development, Angel Luis Arias, may at last provide some concrete evidence that the Aviation Authorities in Spain, after millions of wasted euros on the deserted Corvera project, are finally coming to their senses.

Arias was in San Javier to chair the Murcia Airport Coordination Committee, the main purpose of which is to drive Airport air traffic to the region.

During the gathering, members, including representatives of the Ministry of Public Works, AENA, the Regional and local councils, scrutinized a study of the current status of the airfield which Arias said would serve as a starting point for the development of new measures to encourage air traffic into the airport and boost airport activity

A number of Airport coordination Committees were established at the meeting, the aim of which is to determine future measures that will ensure fiscal stability and promote the competitiveness of San Javier-Murcia within the airport sector.

They will establish and then promote the actions necessary to strengthen air connectivity through the establishment and promotion of new airlines , on both international and domestic routes.

Airport Director Paul Melgar said that these changes are intended to strengthen the management organization at the airport and enable it to “meet and overcome” the many challenges that it will face in repairing the damage done to it’s operations in recent years.

Meanwhile as San Javier – Murcia seems to be making the right sorts of move to re-establish it’s position within the sector, troubles continue to beleaguer the operation at Corvera, the latest of which is the threat of the Association of Expropriated Landowners to take their fight for compensation, following the sale of their land, to Brussels.

Luis Hernández, Secretary of the board of the Association said that the group, which includes about 150 local landowners and farmers, has requested a meeting with the European Ombudsman.

He explained that, despite meeting with local and Regional Politicians, the Corvera airport developer has so far failed to meet the prices that were agreed when the land was first procured. “Promises have not been fulfilled” he said.

The situation began over six years ago. According to Hernandez, the price for land was set by the developer at a rate well below that provided by the Community, but nevertheless, there was a 90% agreement.

He recalled that the dealership offered his group of expropriated landowners about 3 euros per square metre, compared with 11-15 euros for those owners who were compensated by the Government.

Given this difference, many of those affected decided to take their case to court, but after six years they are still awaiting a decision. “Some families are managing badly because the farms that were expropriated were their livelihood,” he said.

“The courts are so very slow and we continue to wonder just how much we are going to get when the matter is finally resolved, but more importantly, who is going to pay if the airport fails to open.

With this concern, all the affected landowners gathered at the Civic Center in Murcia Valladolises last week to decide the approach they will now make to the European Ombudsman in Brussels.

Earlier, the Regional Assembly, had said that the price of any compensation for the expropriated land must be the same “as that paid for similar land elsewhere.”

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43280/

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