As we are all acutely aware, sole-traders have faced numerous challenges and an uphill battle with the government in order to secure better and fairer conditions that would benefit their businesses. Normally our Social contributions increase in January of every year, not so in 2017 as the rates were frozen according to the State Bulletin in February. However, it would seem there has been new movement in this area since the General State Budget was submitted last Friday and the government  in a new twist intends to increase the minimum rate for sole-traders by 3%.

For many years business owners have been promised better conditions to allow them to initiate their activity and survive those crucial first years without the heavy burdens of high Social Security contributions and taxes. Even though some improvements have been made since 2013, we still have a long way to go especially when we compare what other countries pay towards their Social Security for the privilege of being self-employed.

So it is Halloween and we were thinking about what scary scenarios we could present you this issue and then it hit us… what can be scarier than driving on roundabouts in Fuerteventura? The office has been inundated with messages from concerned drivers about how their worst nightmare is not understanding how roundabouts should be used and I’m sure all of us at one time or another has expressed the same concerns given the way some drivers on the island approach the “art” of tackling a roundabout.

One of the main expenses a business owner faces each month is their Social Security contribution. As we all know, Spain is renowned for its high rate just for the pleasure of having a business. Now I’m not saying contributions aren’t necessary, after all, this is used to fund sick pay, unemployment and pensions but there should be boundaries.

In previous articles, I have explained how Social Security determines the contribution business owners must pay each month but lets go over it again.

As some of you know, I have been involved with the Asociación AVANFUER for a few years now. The association successfully ran the Sodade Turtle Rescue Centre in Morro Jable as well as many other environmentally sound projects on and around Fuerteventura. Their latest venture was this First International Conference for Environmental Volunteers in the Canaries held on the 4th and 5th of November, that saw environmentalists, enthusiasts and volunteers gather together to learn about and discuss ongoing projects in other parts of Spain as well as other islands such as Cape Verde and Isla de Principe.

The support was outstanding and we enjoyed talks from members of other associations in their respective fields update us on their progress and latest achievements. On the first day we learned about how to correctly rescue a beached whale or dolphin in a practical course right on the beach and on the second day, we enjoyed going out to the Presa de Los Molinos (Los Molinos Dam) to observe the birds and other wildlife there. After the rains we’ve had, it was pretty awesome to see the dam so full of water and to be mere spectators in a whole other world where birds of many species gather and peacefully co-exist without any outside interference. We did of course have a bird specialist on hand to provide interesting tidbits on the birds we were observing.