August 2013 Archive

Is the UK government stark raving mad

The UK is being praised for continuing to raise national output dedicated to aid, in line with international targets. UK's annual aid budget is £10 billions.

At the same time, Spain has cut overseas aid by 50%; Italy has made cuts of 34%; Greece has cut by 17% (though no one could be critical of that); Portugal has made a reduction of 13%. Germany, France and US have made reductions also, but by a smaller margin. The EU concedes it will break the promise to meet aid goals.

The UK's coalition government needs to get out of the sun. THEY ARE AUTHORISING THE BORROWING OF LARGE SUMS OF MONEY ANNUALLY, AND THEN THEY GIVE A HUGE CHUNK AWAY IN OVERSEAS AID. AT THE SAME TIME, THEY SAY THAT UK PENSIONERS WHO LIVE ABROAD, ARE LIKELY TO LOSE WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS, BECAUSE IT CANNOT BE AFFORDED.

The cost of the Winter Fuel Payments is £2.1 billions to all qualifiers annually, so why not half the aid budget, as Spain has done, so that Winter Fuel Payments can be retained at no extra cost. Additionally, the other savings of £2.9 billions could be given to the NHS.

No one wishes the poorer people in the world to starve or be poisoned by contaminated water, of course not. However, the UK is a country that cannot properly care for its own people right now, let alone half of the rest of the world. We are suffering a severe economic downturn, and common sense dictates that we have to cut our cloth accordingly. That includes the cessation of monetary donations that we haven’t got, to countries who don’t seem to like us much anyway.

UK has in place a £1.4 billions 5 year aid plan to Pakistan – yet only some 1% of the population there pays income tax. Perhaps that other 99%, has very little income. Well, I'm retired, I have little income, but I still pay Income Tax and my government gives it away without my agreement. Then, they plan to end the Winter Fuel Payment just because I live in Spain.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, if you are a UK national, does it.

It seems to me that Jewish law, inspired by the writings of Isaiah, has it right. Family members have precedence over other needy individuals or causes in our charity decisions.

Charity begins at home!!

 Brian Clark

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Posted by on Wednesday 14th August 2013

Does the European Health Insurance Card give you free medical treatment in Spain?

First of all , it’s important to state that the EHIC, which replaced the old E111 in 2006, is suitable for visits to Spain only. If you live in Spain, the EHIC has no validity whatsoever, however this blog we did back in 2008 regarding health certificates for Spanish residents might be able to help you.

There has been some bad publicity recently, where some UK travelers to Spain have claimed they have been forced to pay for medical treatment, despite producing their proper EHIC. The European Commission is looking into these claims and undoubtedly there will be a pronouncement about their findings soon.

In the meantime, it can be reported that the EHIC is a personal and non-transferable document that certifies the holder’s entitlement to receive any necessary medically related health benefits needed during their stay in Europe, in accordance with the legislation of the country being visited (that is access to the same subsidised state health treatment that the locals receive).

It should never happen, but just case your EHIC is declined, here’s a guide to the steps you should take –

1.    Ask to talk to the Billing Manager, and tell him you know the EHIC refusal in not correct.

2.   Ask for an "Hoja Reclamacion”. That’s a complaint form that hospitals hate to have produced about their performance, so at this point they are likely to give way.

3.   If they do not, say that you are going to call the regional delegation, to denounce their treatment of you, and tell them you are going to call the British Consulate too. They usually have emergency numbers. Remember though – if you do not have your EHIC, a passport does not entitle you to healthcare of any kind.

Remember too that the EHIC doesn’t cover you for emergency repatriation, if you are injured or taken ill. It doesn’t help if you have to rent accommodation, or doesn’t cover the cost of someone travelling from the UK to be with you until you are fit to travel, and their stay in a hotel room up to that time. Some decent travel insurance alongside your EHIC is highly recommended.

If you are resident in Moraira - Teulada Spain you might like to know that there are three ambulance services. You have the Civil Protection based in Moraira, the Red Cross ambulance in Teulada and the ambulance service by the hospital Levante IMED, also based in Teulada, Tel: 965 741 531. Alternatively, you could dial the national emergency number 112 and ask for "English" you can advise where you live and they will contact the nearest available ambulance for you.  You can also become a member of the Teulada Red Cross, whom you could also call directly on Tel: 965 740 950. More info regarding this service can be found here

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Posted by on Sunday 4th August 2013

dining out in moraira

It’s fair to say that Moraira isn’t the place to experience much authentic Spanish cuisine. Rather, the food available here is best described as "international”

The exception to that statement can be found on a visit to Spanish bars in the Moraira village. There you will come face to face with "tapas”. These are hot or cold snacks, served as bite-sized portions – and a selection of them will make a very pleasant and filling lunch.

On display, you’ll find such attractions as aceitunas (olives, often with an anchovy or red pepper filling). Additionally you’re likely to seebacalao (salted cod loin, very thinly sliced) and banderillas (olives, baby onions, baby cucumbers, chillies and pieces of pepper, all pickled in vinegar and skewered together). It’s likely there’ll also be calamares (rings of battered squid) or albondigas (spicy meat balls) awaiting you. 

If, on the other hand, you prefer something more formal, then there are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. These range from those aiming for the custom of holidaymakers and ex-patriot residents (at 10/15 euros per head) to those specialising in celebrations of special occasions (at prices from 25 to 50 euros per person). This latter price may seem high, and it is, but for your money you are given first class service and top quality food and wine, all beautifully presented.

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Posted by on Sunday 4th August 2013