Article written by Dean Tyler Shelton
The Citizens Advice Bureau held its first seminar at the Tamisa Golf Hotel, Mijas on the 31st October. I decided I would go along to support the group and to also show that the Manilva Town Council, and our main local privately owned and run media, in the form of The Resident and Manilva Life, supports this type of initiative, and has a keen interest in this particular group and what it is doing to help support foreign residents of all nationalities who have chosen Spain in which to either own a second home, work or to retire to in the past and present, and what it proposes to do to help others, in all areas and aspects of living in Spain in the future.
One of the interesting things about this group is that it also helps Spanish families who seem unable to understand the very workings of the bureaucratic system by which their own country tends to function. I wanted to point this out because, in my years of living in Spain, I have known so many English speaking people say that it’s easy for the Spanish in Spain. Well no, it isn’t always the walk in the park that we tend to like to think it is. Not even for the Spanish themselves.
Some of the many useful topics discussed at the seminar were Inheritance Tax, Resident Status/Fiscal Residency, NIE’s, local census/Empadronamiento, making a Spanish Will, healthcare and your rights, Banks and Bank abuses especially, regarding floors in interest rates.
I have taken the following extract from the C.A.B’s very own Facebook page, as I think it best describes what the intention of the group actually is:
“The aim of this Group and its subsidiary factions in all the regions of Spain and the islands is to provide independent advice, information and support for all interested expatriates and Spaniards alike. Such a support group is imperative especially for the hundreds of thousands of non Spanish residents who often struggle to understand the existing and ever-changing laws and rules.
We are an apolitical concern but, with our growing membership, intend to become a strong enough force to be able to lobby for our rights. We are aware that we also need a functional and serious consumer protection agency.
We will provide a free service and hope to set up an ONG/NPO organisation.”
I personally believe, if you are currently living in any part of Spain, it should be as important to you as possessing a passport that you become a member of this group in one way or another, and not because you will be supporting the group, but so that the group can support you, where and whenever you need them to.
The seminar was an absolute success on every level, and I am now hoping to convince and bring The Citizens Advice Bureau along with its team of advisors, to Manilva’s own auditorium, “Centro de Interpretación”, situated above our new wine museum, next to the fire station and new main Square in Manilva’s town centre.
Many of you may already know the President of the group, but, for those of you who don’t know her by name, she is Myra Azzopardi Swainson, and you can contact her, or the group, by simply going onto Facebook and searching for the The Citizens Advice Bureau, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Telephone 952 797821, or, coming very soon, its new website www.citizensadvice.org.es