Health, priority for the economy

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The tourism sector (12.3% of GDP) has been the most directly affected since the start of the Covid-19 crisis. For this reason, from a very early moment, from Exceltur, the alliance of the large companies in the sector for excellence, we asked the Government for a reaction in the form of measures that support the liquidity of the companies in the face of the catastrophic fall in business – currently practically total– and that also allowed flexibility in terms of costs and people.

Acting in labor matters has been the best possible, facilitating the flexibility we need to maintain, with great sacrifice on the part of everyone, the employment and talent of our companies. In the case of the fiscal measures that we requested (such as deferring VAT, personal income tax or Social Security fees at no cost), the Government has thought about SMEs, but has forgotten about the large company, which is the engine of this country, and therefore we continue to claim them, waiting for it to reconsider. Regarding other measures to guarantee the liquidity of the companies, until now the credit measures have been timid, although we welcome the announcement of the line of guarantees that the executive has launched.

In any case, I think that given the almost absolute absence of visibility, the Government should adjust the economic plan to the most conservative scenarios, which speak of up to six months of a sharp slowdown in activity. Aware that the first thing is the health of the population, it would understand that the restrictions to those productive activities that are not essential for the operation of the country are tightened, but only as long as it is absolutely essential to contain the spread of the virus, and promote economic reactivation as possible without jeopardizing health. Because talking today about the economy is talking, more than ever, about health.

We are aware that each month that passes from confinement and productive paralysis will leave us scars, and also for this reason, the priority is to control the disease and reduce this time. We know that we are asking the Government and the European institutions for a very complex balance between preserving companies and jobs now, and propping up the future recovery, but this is a unique situation in history, which has never even been foreseen by the economic treaties, and the solutions must be.

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