25 Nov, 2012 @ 08:18
1 min read

They are kicking us in the teeth, says expat businessman in Spain

peter langdale from la palma with team

EXCLUSIVE by Eloise Horsfield

AN expat businessman has slammed the authorities for ‘destroying morale’ after being given just a fortnight to cobble together 13 separate documents about his staff.

Peter Langdale, who runs a seed nursery in Velez Malaga, was outraged after receiving a letter from the Employment Ministry ordering him to supply information about his 100-strong workforce.

The documents relate to staff salaries, promotions and equal opportunities – with the threat of a €6,000 fine if anything was missing.

The demands even included a dossier on company maternity and breastfeeding policy.

“It’s ridiculous,” said the Yorkshireman, 58, who set up his business nearly three decades ago. “The economy needs companies like mine to provide jobs right now, so we need to be supported.

“Spain is the 136th hardest country in the world to set up a business – even harder than in Zambia and Cameroon.

“Why should people bother to try when they’re going to get kicked in the teeth like this?”

As it happens his company has been able to meet the demands as it has a human resources department which was able to locate everything needed.

“But for small and medium-sized companies it’s a very different story.

“I know another business owner, also in the horticulture business, who only employs four people.

“His business was severely damaged during the floods in September and just as he was starting to recover from that, he got a similar demand on his doormat. It completely destroys morale.”

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. The less paperwork the better. But sometimes you have to put up with it as even the right-wing politicians struggle to cut down the bureaucracy. It has to be said though, there is a business opportunity in that story – I wonder if others can see it too?

  2. There are so many Spanish friends of mine with great ideas for businesses, but unfortunately most don’t have the deep pockets needed to start up, let alone keep on top of the absurd amounts of pointless bureaucracy. Large companies, already in existence, definitely have the upper hand. The system doesn’t seem to want one-man-band entrepreneurs…

  3. It’s no surprise, the Spanish do not like expats and that is the basis of most of this treatment. Start a business elsewhere is my advice, where they truly value entrepreneurs.

  4. Spain enjoys the ranking of 136th worldwide for starting up a new business. As Fred says – don’t.
    El País says :’Despite repeated announcements of reforms to facilitate business creation, Spain frustratingly remains one of the World’s most difficult places to start up a new business. In fact, Spain is ranked 136th out of 185 countries surveyed by the just released ‘World Bank’s Doing Business 2013′ report – three places down on last year – which includes data through June. It takes 10 procedures (Spain loves its paperwork) and an average 28 days, to say nothing of the high costs involved. Indeed, it is harder to create a company in Spain than in such places as Afghanistan, Albania, Burundi, Iran, Kosovo, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Yemen and Zambia, according to the report’. (from “www.theentertaineronline.com”)

  5. All ex-totalitarian regimes suffer from the same problem, with the political and administrative elite still feeding off the average business or worker.
    Like corruption in Spain, it is endemic and will take a revolution to eliminate.
    Even a simple activity such as fishing – there are different licences for each type, lake, shore, boat, spear, etc. And look at the paperwork just to live here legally!!!!
    Of course there are also whole departments living off the proceeds of infringements of any of these rules/licences, etc.

  6. If you want to start a business in Spain just do everything illegally because iyou will get away with about 90% of things. Of course if you choose to everything by the letter of the law they will come down on you like a ton of bricks and will need to write fines into your yearly budget that’s if you haven’t gone bankrupt .

  7. I set up my business in 2008 here in Carmona Sevilla. After just a few weeks of starting up I was interviewed several times by national and local television news programs. The local authorities encouraged me to apply for a business loan to enable me to open a shop. In 2011 I applied to ICO for a small loan. They accepted my business project saying it was superb and approved the loan. Due to the fact that the general elections took place the very week I applied for the loan, the ICO loans were ‘ frozen’ due to the lack of funds and political change until a further date. As a result, I was told to register on the program course Empleate 2.00 for emprendedores and apply for a microcredit from the bank through the course. I did just as they said and completed the course applying at the same time for a small loan. My application was accepted in Febuary 2012 and they agreed to give me the microcredit which was set up to help entrepreneurs on the course. Not having received any form of loan by August and a change in bank manager, the bank denied
    having granted me the loan. Fortunately,I had already received a demand for the first payment on the loan in July, however I had not received the loan!!! I say fortunate because I was able to prove legally that the loan had never arrived. In September of 2012 Carmona organised a produce and business fair where autonomos on empleate 2.00 were given a shared stand. The second day of the fair an individual arrived and started taking photos of my products, which after protesting strongly asking him not to do so,he walked away. In the afternoon he arrived and set up stand next to mine selling copies of my products! I complained to the directors of the course and they said he could do as he wanted as he was also on the same course although they admited his business line actually offered a totaly different product from the one he had on display. Of all the people on the course I still had received no financial help or backing. Shortly afterwards, this individual was given financial backing using my business project and now sells copies of my products although his initial business project was rejected on the grounds of being inadequate. In January 2013 the government announced that the ICO loans were now once again available for ’emprendedores’ so naturally I re applied for the ICO loan that had been approved in 2011. The difference this time was /is that the ICO loans are now in the hands of banks so the application must be presented to a bank and not directly to ICO as was the case in 2011. A week ago the bank in the village refused to give me the ICO loan inspite of the fact that ICO has already said I could have the loan. Giving the Spanish banks power to approve the ico loans means they are now free to choose subjectively who receives those loans and who doesn’t. Needless to say, I pay my taxes every month like any legal Spanish business but am considered an extranjera when it comes to getting a business loan. I have lived in Spain 28 years.

  8. …I forgot to mention that I have also received threatening emails stating that if I dont cease my business activity I will pay the consequences. This obviously has been reported to the police.

  9. News is right an i undersantd this man. I agree with him

    Said that

    1- Spain is not equal corruption, there are lots , yes. Sure. Please compare up to Madrid North and Andalucia. And please, are UK, or the rest of EU pure? do not make me laugh too much at this time in the morning
    I am stronlgy recommend not to go Andalucia to implement anything. I just go sometimes to get a sunbath and a cold drink. I am not sure for what else these people are used to.

    2- Bussiness way of doing and admin needs are huge: right. Something to improve

    3- If you do not like Spain, it is easy: leave the country. Do not worry, we prefer people like this man that drunk hooligans in Benidorm

    4- I am spanish born expat in EU, previously have lived in England ( terrific people there, with same friends still) . Paradise do not exists, fellows.


  10. “If you do not like Spain, it is easy: leave the country.”

    @JL, is it really that easy? What if you have a house in Spain and need to sell that in order to move out of Spain, like so many, many people? What if you have debts or loans in Spain, or other comittments. There are many other scenarios that stop people ‘just moving’ away from Spain and it’s most surprising that you didn’t consider them JL, lol.

  11. It is not a question of liking or disliking a country or inviting foreign residents to leave for what ever the reasons. That is not the arguement. It is a question of being able to express ones self particularly when it comes to an injustice or a bureaucratic pitfall. It’s called democracy!

    ” Do not worry, we prefer people like this man that drunk hooligans in Benidorm”

    Eh? What??! Strange comment considering the context of the article!!

  12. JL – it’s not a question of liking or disliking Spain – we love the country and most of its people, that’s why we are here! But we don’t like the corruption and paperwork, which so far the population has failed to stop or alleviate. You continually vote in the worst elements, at all political levels.
    We are just doing our bit to help IMPROVE Spain for EVERYONE to enjoy, not just those at the top with big bank accounts.

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